HAZARD – Motorists driving past the Hazard Police Department lately may have noticed something different in the parking lot across from the station, namely a flat-black Humvee with a “Hazard Police” decal on the side. That’s because the department recently acquired two of the military vehicles through a surplus program, at no cost to the city.
Deputy Chief Joe Engle noted that when the U.S. military no longer uses certain equipment, they allow local governments a chance to use that surplus property. This past year, the department took the opportunity to add two Humvees to its fleet of cruisers.
The Humvee came to widespread military use in the 1980s, seeing action in several countries, most notably in the Middle East. The vehicles acquired by the Hazard Police Department, which were driven to Hazard from North Carolina last year, will be used mostly for inclement weather situations and in instances of servicing warrants, Engle noted.
“We’re going to use them for, of course, winter time, inclement weather, but mostly we plan on using them for search warrants and things like that,” he said. “You can carry eight men in that, four in the cab, and four can ride in the back.”
Engle added that there may be some instances where the vehicles can be used in public relations situations, such as parades or at schools.
These are the first Humvees in use at the department. While acquiring them was at no cost, there was some cost in getting the first vehicle ready for civilian police duty, though very little of that work was done by personnel outside of the department. Det. Adam Baker is proficient in auto body work, Engle noted, and worked to paint the vehicle and get it ready for the road.
The only work not completed by the department was decals and other markings to identify it as a Hazard Police vehicle. Chief Minor Allen noted that in all, it took roughly $3,000 to get the vehicle ready for duty. Work on the second Humvee has not yet been completed.
Obtaining these Humvees is part of an effort to ensure the department can respond to any number of issues, Allen said, adding that officers in the department are also undergoing additional training in that regard.
“I just want to be prepared for any situation that could come down the pike, that we would be able to handle that,” Allen said. “That vehicle is just part of that so far.”