August 24, 2011 —
There was a hulking black vehicle sitting on the lawn outside the government center in Monticello on August 18. It was a High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle, better known as Humvee, which once belonged to the U.S. Army at Fort Drum.
It’s now the possession of the Sullivan County Sheriff’s Office for use in flooding and other natural disasters in locations where a lesser vehicle can’t travel.
Sheriff Mike Schiff posed with Lieutenant Eric Benjamin of the Ulster County Sheriff’s Office, who helped secure the Humvee for Sullivan County and also one for Ulster County.
According to various press accounts, Benjamin was instrumental in getting New York State to rejoin the 1033 Federal Surplus Property Program, through which the federal government lends equipment to law enforcement agencies across the country. The state rejoined last year, after having dropped out of the program for six years.
Schiff said the vehicle will be used for any natural disaster where you might have to rescue people, or get food and water to people in situations where four-wheel-drive vehicles are insufficient.
Benjamin said eight hours after the Ulster County Sheriff’s Office received their Humvee, it was put to use. He said, “We rescued three different households from flooding up in Phoenicia. It was perfect; it was something that our regular patrol cars and four-wheel-drive vehicles couldn’t get to.
There is no cost to the county, but because the federal government does not want law enforcement agencies to receive this sort of property only to turn around and sell it, the vehicle will go back to the federal government when it comes to the end of its useful life.