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Humvees Are Here to Stay in Weston

WESTON, Conn. – If an emergency were to occur in the 2,000-plus acres of woodlands in Weston, the Weston Police Department will be more prepared then ever after the Board of Selectmen approved the use of two military-issued Humvees acquired last month.

The two vehicles will hit the road only during emergencies, Weston Police Chief John Troxell told the selectmen. They are not taking the place of routine patrol vehicles. The Humvees, along with the department's ATVs and UTVs, will be beneficial in search-and-rescue missions. The police department “would be able to get a large amount of equipment and officers into those area,” Troxell said.

Besides search and rescue, Troxell said, the military vehicles will also be used during weather-related emergencies because they are better equipped to drive through snowstorms, downed trees and heavy rain. “These two vehicles will be doing all the grunt work in the worst possible conditions,” Troxell said.

The current fleet was no match for the unsafe road conditions created by Tropical Storm Irene and the Oct. 29 snowstorm . The roads were either covered in ice or riddled with debris, leaving the department no choice but to borrow four-wheel-drive vehicles from the Board of Education .  By adding the 1992 and 1994 military-issued Humvees to the fleet, Troxell said, more officers and more gear can be distributed on the ground during times of need.

The department picked up the Humvees under an agreement with the U.S. Law Enforcement Support Office , which “leases” used military vehicles to police agencies. The move originally angered First Selectman Gayle Weinstein, who said she should have been notified of the acquisition beforehand.

Troxell originally received the approval to acquire the vehicles from the town’s Police Commission, but he did not notify Weinstein. According to Troxell, the move to secure the Humvees had to be done quickly because the military program operates on a first-come, first-serve basis. If Troxell had waited any longer, he could have missed the town’s chance for the free vehicles.

The camouflage-colored vehicles will soon head to a local vendor to get a fresh coat of paint, police decals, lights and sirens to be road ready, Troxell said.

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