Do the City of DeKalb and Stephenson County Have Land Mine Problems?
Land mines in DeKalb and Stephenson County! Has anyone spotted one? This will definitely raise your eyebrows.
Did you know that the City of DeKalb and The Stephenson County Sheriff's Dept each asked for, and recently received a mine resistant vehicle from the federal government? Each of these vehicles was valued at over $658,000.
Just recently, it was announced by US Attorney general Jeff Sessions that President Trump indicated he would resume resume distributing "lifesaving gear" from military surplus to local and state police departments.
The items being distributed to smaller police departments include:
- armored (tank-like) vehicles
- weaponized aircraft and vessels
- grenade launchers
- firearms with ammunition of .50-caliber or higher
According to a report by OpenTheBooks.org, in 2013, the city of DeKalb received a a mine resistant vehicle from the federal government valued at $658,000, while in 2014 the Stephenson Country Sheriff's Department received a similar vehicle valued at $733,000.
The question that everyone wants to know the answer to is what is the legitimate law enforcement purpose for these vehicles? I emailed the DeKalb Police Chief Gene Lowery and Stephenson County sheriff to get answers.
DeKalb Chief Lowery responded as follows:
DeKalb does not have a landmine concern and we have not had a landmine issue in the last decade.
I asked how the DeKalb Police Department uses the vehicle? Chief Lowery stated:
The MRAP is an armored truck made by Navistar/International Harvester that has a variety of useful applications in law enforcement from fording water and rough terrain to rescue flood victims, to its use in tactical situations that pose a clear threat to the community or the police. It is an asset that is registered with ILEAS as a resource we can use if needed and is available for deployment to other agencies.
·The DeKalb Police Department is also a member of a regional, multi-agency, Special Operations Team (SOT) or what is commonly referred to as SWAT. Teams of this nature serve in a variety of high risk environments or situations that require, special skills, equipment, and vehicles. You may recall a recent article in the Daily Chronicle that involved a rural pursuit of an alleged armed offender, where SWAT personnel and armored vehicles responded to the scene. The MRAP can provide an armored vehicle response to high risk incidents that our officers may encounter, for the purpose of deploying personnel into a hostile environment, removing or rescuing them or innocent civilians, and addressing armed offenders. The MRAP we possess could be deployed as needed in operations described above, within our city or in supporting the operations of another agency as part of mutual aid response. The intended use of the MRAP is to be utilized in high risk operations role(s) that could include, but are not limited to, active shooters, hostage situations, barricaded subjects, natural disaster and other rescue operations, homeland security incidents, high risk enforcement operations, and the deployment and recovery of tactical operators or victims from a hostile environment. The benefit of belonging to ILEAS or any multi-agency mutual response system, is that agencies can rely on the assets of others, without having to duplicate services, skills, or specialized equipment and vehicles to meet need. This results in overall cost savings to all of the stakeholders, yet it allows for public safety agencies to be prepared to respond to a critical incident in an effective manner.
Here is a photo of the DeKalb MRAP Vehicle
Sheriff David Snyders of the Stephenson County Sheriffs department said that as far as he knows Stephenson County has:
No issues with landmines.
In reference to the mine resistant vehicle, Sheriff Snyders went on to say:
SCSO has possession of this vehicle. Any situation requiring evacuation of citizens from a hot zone or getting our deputies or Emergency Response Team into an area where a critical incident is occurring or if need be, evacuating a deputy from a dangerous situation. May also be used to rescue stranded motorists during a snow storm or evacuate citizens during a flood.
Interestingly, the City of Belvidere is also getting on military grade surplus weapons for it's police department. In 2014, it acquired over 30 5.6 millimeter military grade rifles. Each one had a value of $749.00. Is Belvidere planning for war?
So what about the town of Shannon, IL. (Population 707). The small rural community is located just southeast of Freeport. Between 2003 and 2014 the town asked for and received an arsenal of military grade equipment from the federal government.
What is going on in town of Shannon that we don't know about?
You can check out and see what other towns in Illinois asked for received by clicking here.