Two new pieces of equipment have been added to the Hopkins County Sheriff's Office’s motor vehicle fleet over the past two weeks, according to Sheriff Lewis Tatum.
The military surplus vehicles were donated to the sheriff's department, and the only cost to the county was having the vehicles delivered by truck.
“We thought we needed to work with it in the event of storm damage and things like that,” Tatum said. “We were able to get this piece of equipment that has a front-end loader and a backhoe — it's called a UNIMOG.”
Looking like a combination of a “Transformer" and a bad dream, the first to arrive was the UNIMOG, a short, stubby 4x4 truck with a front-end loader and a backhoe on the back. The backhoe folds back onto the truck and can be quickly and easily deployed.
The sheriff said the UNIMOG could be an invaluable tool in the event of storm damage and the removal of debris.
A second piece of equipment, an MRAP, was delivered to the sheriff's department Tuesday.
“The Hopkins County-Sulphur Springs SWAT team had been trying to obtain an armored personnel carrier just for the safety of their officers,” the sheriff said. “We were able to find one of those in northern California and it got here [Tuesday.]”
A vehicle like the MRAP had been identified as something SWAT could utilize primarily for officer protection.
Tatum said his department learned of a process to obtain an MRAP through the Sheriff's Association of Texas.
“Sgt. Paul Fenimore signed up for all this equipment through Sheriff's Association and we got the necessary information,” Tatum explained. “When we asked for these things, they gave them to us.”
Both the UNIMOG and the MRAP were delivered in running condition and only needing some repairs and parts such as batteries. They should be ready for service in the next few weeks.