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Amid scrutiny, Canyon Co. police chiefs show off former military vehicles

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Photo: Video by IdahoOnYourSide.com

Amid scrutiny, Canyon Co. police chiefs show off former military vehicles

By Jake Melder. CREATED Aug 18, 2014

As the unrest continues in Ferguson, Missouri, people living here in the Treasure Valley have sounded off about local police using military equipment.

One target of the complaints is the MRAP, which stands for mine-resistant ambush protected armored vehicle. A MRAP was deployed to a police stand-off in Caldwell last week. Police deployed the armored vehicle, believing their suspect was armed.

"It is simply a tool that up to now we had not been able to afford, that now we have the ability to offer some protection," said Caldwell Police Chief Chris Kingsbury.

It was the first time CPD deployed their MRAP since getting it this May.

In Nampa, a similar vehicle has been out eight times since the police department got it a year ago.

"There are no guns attached to this thing,” said NPD Chief Craig Kingsbury, describing the machine. “This is not a 'tank.'" Kingsbury says the newly branded “Armored Rescue Vehicle” simply provides protection. "Officers can sit inside this, stand inside this, stand behind it, stand beside it and be protected from bullets and explosives."

Our cameras had complete access to the vehicle -- a standing offer. Kingsbury said anyone in the public can come to the station and go through the ARV anytime.

“There are no secrets behind these doors," he said.

He added if the issue is too important to dismiss, you can vote for city leadership that will change the direction of the police department.

All the gear comes from a federal program that donates retired military equipment to police departments, free of charge. Kingsbury said a civilian version of the MRAP would cost tax payers $300,000. In addition to the MRAP, NPD has received medical supplies, boots, and a scope for their rifles.

Chief Allgood of Caldwell added that he has no intention of receiving additional military supplies, that such a move would be improper for a police force.