The St. Helena Parish Sheriff’s Office has acquired two military-grade, M998 Humvee utility trucks for use in emergencies.
Officials said the vehicles will be used in standoffs between suspects and law enforcement officials, school emergencies and inclement weather.
Sheriff Nat Williams said his office purchased the trucks in February for $4,600 through the Louisiana Federal Property Assistance with drug seizure money awarded to the Sheriff’s Office by the courts.
Williams said the former military vehicles can be easily converted to search-and-rescue vehicles because of their carrying and pulling power and the ability to plow through high water because of an elevated exhaust system.
The sheriff said he is glad the department was able to purchase the rescue vehicles.
“I can remember during Hurricane Isaac the Sheriff’s Office assisted with the rescue of a family from Natalbany Creek area by boat because the road was underwater,” Williams said.
“A flooded road would not be a problem for these vehicles and, with a heavy winch and four-wheeled pulling power, these vehicles have the ability to clear limbs and trees from roadways,” he said. “We should be in good shape for hurricane season.”
Williams said in addition to responding to worst-case scenarios in St. Helena Parish, the vehicles also will serve surrounding parishes.
Chief Detective Joe Chaney said the department has needed the vehicles for some time now.
“With these new vehicles, we now have the means to get to an area that may be underwater or trees in the roadway,” Chaney said.
Williams said he intends to leave the vehicles their original military camouflage color.
“We might put decals on it, label it as belonging to the St. Helena Parish Sheriff’s Office, but I think we’ll just leave them as is for now,” Williams said.