Wylie's SWAT Team Now Has an Armored, Mine-Resistant Military SUV [Updated]
Dallas County's MRAP, which deputies drove here from Fort Hood last fall.
This post has been updated with additional comments from Wylie PD spokeswoman Donna Valdapena.
Wylie is, according to the city's official website, an idyllic place to live. "Why Wylie?" it asks before answering its own question with a series of exclamations: "Historic Downtown!" "Woodbridge Golf Club!" "Community Events!" "Summer Fun!"
What the homepage doesn't mention is that Wylie apparently has a serious enough crime problem to require the use of a "mine-resistant, ambush protected" military vehicle designed for use in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The city inherited the vehicle free of charge from the U.S. government which, with its two protracted foreign wars basically over, has been reducing its vast surplus of military vehicles by giving them away to local police departments.
Dallas County received one of the $650,000 MRAP's last year to serve warrants. That seemed ridiculous at the time, but Dallas County has a population of 2.5 million and includes a city with enough violent crime that its SWAT team got its own reality show.
But Wylie? Wylie just recently made the transition from humble farming town to booming exurb. Does it really need a vehicle designed to withstand attacks from bomb-wielding insurgents?
Wylie PD spokeswoman Donna Valdapena tells Unfair Park that the city won't use the MRAP often but that there is a need. In one case a couple of years ago involving an active shooter in a residential neighborhood, Plano and McKinney had to bring in their vehicles to allow police to safely approach.
Beyond that, she says, Wylie has a need to protect critical infrastructure like facilities for the North Texas Municipal Water District, the Lake Lavon dam, and an under-development intermodal hub.
"I don't see it being used a whole lot right now," she says. "It's just one of those things that if you needed it, it's there."
That should put Wylie's 44,000 residents' minds at ease.
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