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No free lunch for MCSD

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

McHenry County, Illinois Emergency Services Vehicles Military

No free lunch for MCSD

Gus Philpott
Woodstock Advocate
July 20, 2014


Here are some thoughts and questions that those in power at the McHenry County Sheriff's Department should have thought of and asked themselves (and others) before accepting the "free" vehicles from the Feds:

1. Are we really going to have to spend $25,000 on the MARV (Mobile Armed Rescue Vehicle) to get it operational? And will it pass emissions requirements after the $25,000 is spent? (It didn't.)
2. Will it cost $25,000 each to prepare each of the two recent acquisitions for use by MCSD?
3. Does the MARV have to be hauled on a trailer to the scene of an incident?
4. Do the two newer military assault vehicles also have to be hauled on a trailer to the scene of an incident?
5. Is the County's insurance invalid, if any of the three military assault vehicles is driven on the roads and highways in the County?
6. When the Undersheriff or Sheriff allows the MARV or the MRAP (Mine-Resistant Ambush-Protected) or that third military vehicle to be driven on public roads, escorted by a patrol car in front and one following, is he violating the terms of the insurance policy and exposing the County to financial risk, as well as requiring deputies to violate the law by operating such vehicle on public roads, if the vehicles are not street-legal?
7. Does it really cost MCSD $10,000/year (or more) in insurance premiums for each of the three military assault vehicles?
8. How much will it cost to contract for a flatbed hauler to come on short notice and haul the MARV or MRAP to a scene?
9. When an emergency arises and the MARV or MRAP could be used, how long will it take a driver and hauler to arrive at MCSD, load the military truck and drive to the scene?
10. Will the driver of the commercial tow truck get a police escort to the scene? He won't be a trained emergency-response driver. What if he causes or gets into a wreck enroute? Will the County be liable?
11. Will it even get there in time to be used?

Remember the motto of many law-enforcement agencies?

"To protect and serve." But they should not violate laws while doing so. Should they?

Why is the outgoing regime wasting taxpayer money at such a rate, rather than setting up the Department for a smooth, economical transition to whoever the new sheriff will be?

In the video, narrated by Sheriff Keith Nygren, you can clearly see the MARV being operated on public streets. (Then why must it be trailered to a scene?) While Nygren says the vehicle is diesel-powered, he doesn't say that the vehicle did not pass emission standards, even after $25,000 was put into it after MCSD brought it to McHenry County from an "air base out west" (costing $2,500). He says it "pretty much handles the same way your car does." If that were true, then it wouldn't require a specially-trained driver who holds a certificate to operate it.

After a pitch like that on the video, maybe Nygren will take up selling used cars after November 30.



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