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Offer from U.S. military doubles department's fleet of remote-access vehicles

March 29th, 2014 8:08 am by Brad Hicks

Offer from U.S. military doubles department's fleet of remote-access vehicles

ERWIN — An emergency can occur anywhere in Unicoi County, including its most remote, mountainous terrain. This concern for local law enforcement officials is amplified when inclement weather strikes.

But the Unicoi County Sheriff’s Department has bolstered its ability to combat these concerns.

The sheriff’s department recently doubled its fleet of Humvees. Earlier this week, the department picked up two of the vehicles from Fort Campbell, Ky., which it received at no cost through the U.S. military’s surplus program. Each Humvee is valued at around $60,000, Sheriff Mike Hensley said.

“I’m tickled to death to get these, right here,” Hensley said.

Humvee is the common term for HMMWV, which stands for high mobility multipurpose wheeled vehicle. After their introduction, the four-wheel- drive vehicles eventually replaced the Jeep in the military.

Hensley said the recently acquired Humvees are ideal for traversing through the county’s more remote areas, for use during wintry weather and for responding to emergencies during floods. He also said the Humvees will prevent the department from damaging its low-profile SUVs in rougher areas.

The sheriff’s department had received two other Humvees at no cost through the surplus program early last year. Hensley said these vehicles have been put to good use, and he expects the same from the ones just acquired.

While the vehicles came at no cost, Hensley said some work will likely be put into them. He said the newly acquired Humvees will receive a new paint job once the gun mounts are removed, and radios and possibly emergency blue lights will be installed.

Hensley said his department constantly looks for resources to save county taxpayers money, and he said the military surplus program is such a resource.

“It’s an asset to the people of Unicoi County, the citizens, and it’s an asset to our department,” Hensley said. 

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