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In Defense of the Defense Vehicle – 1/9/17 Caucus & 1/11/17 Council Meeting

Example of the Navastar MaxPro MRAP Vehicle that was acquired to the City through the Federal 1033 LESO Program.

PERTH AMBOY – R-17-1/17 – Authorizing the Perth Amboy Police Department to acquire a Navastar MaxPro MRAP Vehicle from the Federal 1033 LESO Program.

This $65,000 vehicle only cost the City $6,500 (shipping cost) because the Federal Government no longer had any use for it. It was offered to any municipality instead of it being scrapped. It is a Humvee and Military Rescue Vehicle.

Business Administrator Adam Cruz further explained that it can be used in water rescue up to 5 feet of water.

During the 1/11/17 Council Meeting Resident Stephanie (Rodriguez) Márquez-Villafañe came up to speak about this vehicle, “Why do we need such a heavy duty vehicle for such a small City? It’s for use on the battlefield. Why are we getting it for free? Is it because the government feels it’s unusable or they think that the City will be more crime ridden? With this vehicle, maybe the gangs will be getting more heavy duty artillery. Who can operate this heavy duty and wide vehicle? And what about traffic congestion? I don’t think people will like such a scary looking vehicle in town. It might not be able to go down low tonnage streets. I don’t think this vehicle will be of help to the City.”

Council President Bill Petrick agreed that Stephanie (Rodriguez) Márquez-Villafañe had a lot of valid points.
At this time Lt. Sulikowski PAPD came up to give more information about the vehicle, “It’s eight and half feet wide, weighs 41,000 lbs. and has 8,000 miles on it. It’s a leftover from the Iraqi war. Instead of destroying the vehicle, the government offers it to any municipality. They give you a checklist of the vehicle and it uses diesel fuel. It can be used for an active shooter rescue. I hope and pray that nothing like Orlando happens here.”

Council President Bill Petrick wondered, “If we decide to take this vehicle, then change our minds, can we sell it?”
Lt. Sulikowski answered, “No. It has to go back to the Federal Government.” Sulikowksi added, “This vehicle can be used to transport personnel to a protest site, but we can’t use it against the protestors. It can also be used in hazardous weather rescue. It can also be used in a crisis situation.”

Former Councilwoman and Resident Lisa Nanton agreed with Stephanie about this vehicle, but she also wondered why the Council voting on this vehicle if it’s already here.

B.A. Cruz answered Nanton, “This is not a purchase, but was acquired through a grant. The reason it is on the agenda is because they need this on record to show that the Police Department did receive this vehicle.

Jelmin Caba

Resident Jeremy Baratta said, “Do we need a tank in the City? Think about it.”

B.A. Cruz responded, “Remember, this vehicle is for emergency purposes only and it’s about keeping Officers safe on the street.”

Others who were in support of the Police Department acquiring this vehicle included Former Councilman and retired Police Officer Kenneth Balut. “We forgot about the terrorist attack that happened recently six months ago and 9-11-01. This is why we need vehicles like this.”

During the Council Comments, Councilman Jelmin Caba addressed Stephanie Rodriguez and other concerned citizens, “I’m not in favor of a police state, but we have to remember about that terrorist who lived in Perth Amboy. If this vehicle can save one life in the City, then it will be worth it.”

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