It’s not a gun turret, guys.
That’s the conclusion at least a few readers surely drew from the news that the Aberdeen Police Department was awarded nearly $54,000 in drug control funds for a turret on its Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicle.
There were plenty of Facebook comments suggesting that the seized funds, taken before a conviction from those suspected of drug trafficking, was being used to militarize the police.
What use could a turret be, some wondered.
We decided this one was worth some clarification.
While the “militarization of police” commentary isn’t out of left field – it’s true that the APD’s vehicle comes from the military – this particular turret isn’t designed to hold an automatic weapon.
The turret in question is essentially a hatch that opens at the top of the vehicle and allows SWAT team members to climb out hide behind a rotating shield.
“It’s so you’re not like a prairie dog popping up,” said Capt. Eric Duven of the APD.
The department was gifted the vehicle last year through the 1033 program, which distributes surplus military equipment to departments nationwide. The APD is responsible for maintaining the vehicle.
The vehicle would be used for SWAT callouts involving active shooters or for barricaded subjects, just as the Sioux Falls Police Department uses its Bearcat armored vehicle.
Which has a turret. And was also purchased in part with grant funds.
The APD’s new SWAT vehicle has gone unused thus far, Duven said, but it could be used for mutual aid in and around Brown County if requested.
The APD used a Facebook post to clear up potential misconceptions about its MRAP Wednesday afternoon.