At a recent City Council meeting citizens spoke about the uses of the vehicle loaned to the City by the State Patrol. Some were for limiting the use of the vehicle to Search & Rescue operations only, while others are for expanding its potential use to include protecting our police officers in the event of a high risk incident.
When the question of “why we got this vehicle” came up in May of 2016, I wrote a letter of explanation to one of our citizens and I would like to share that letter with all of you now:
May 8, 2016
I thought I should take a moment to share with you how we got to the V-150 vehicle. One of the reasons why I ran for mayor was that I wanted to be more involved in City-wide emergency preparation.
The Army leadership at JBLM has made a tremendous effort to be connected to local communities in Pierce County. I appreciated their reaching out to Orting. In looking at surplus vehicles I concluded that a Stewart & Stevenson LMTV 4×4 Cargo Truck could come in handy in various emergencies in town. (See attached picture.) I had hoped we could get two of them for free. One for regular use by our Public Works Department and one for spare parts. I learned that we would have to pay at least $3,500 for each. And to be prepared for pushing stalled vehicles out of the travel lanes we would need to buy or build some form of easily attachable push bumper. We’ve made a couple of trips to the Base but have not yet found the right vehicle.
Our Police Chief has a good working relationship with the State Patrol and has saved the City quite a bit of money by getting us their ‘hand-me-downs’ for free. They mentioned that they would soon surplus their V-150, that was used for Search & Rescue and SWAT activities, since they now have two bigger vehicles for those purposes.
While this was not what I had originally envisioned, I appreciated that it could do some of the things I was looking for; that there was no cost to get this vehicle; that spare parts are also available from the Federal Surplus system; that it already has an attached push blade to move cars or downed trees out of the way; that Bates Technical College wants to do the maintenance for us for free (except for supplies); that the Soldiers Home is willing to store it for us; and should the need ever arise here or in our neighboring communities, that we could make it available to protect the lives of First Responders.
I realize that there are certain restrictions that come with this vehicle. For instance I had hoped that the Fire Department could train their staff to operate it and use it in river rescues since it maneuvers in water and can float and act like a boat. However, I understand that it must remain under the control of a Police Department. (And they will certainly assist the Fire Department.)
The bottom line: I’m glad we are getting this vehicle. I will probably still try to get a surplus LMTV 4×4 for our Public Works Department, and a trailer for the Back-hoe/front-end loader so that it doesn’t get the wear and tear of driving back and forth between worksites and the material site. I’m also looking for trailered generators. Congressman Reichert’s Aide is helping me to see if Homeland Security can get us one for free.
Well _________, I just thought I should share my thinking with you.
Thanks for reading this.
Here is how I feel about this vehicle today:
1) I hope it will be of some use if there is a search and rescue need in our community for someone who is lost.
2) I hope we will never ever have a serious Lahar situation. But we want to be prepared for the worst and hope for the best. Its ability to push stuff out of the way may help clear roads.
3) I hope we will never ever have a serious “crazed shooter or terrorist” incident in our community. But if we do I want to give our First Responders all the protection we can give.
However the ultimate decision of the use of the vehicle rests with the City Council.
Mayor, City of Orting
P.S. If you would like to share your thoughts with me please call me or leave a message for me at City Hall. 360-893-2219 Extension 125