McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

October 31, 2013

Armored vehicle added to Sheriff's fleet

By Jeanne LeFlore
Staff Writer

McALESTER — What’s yellow, weighs 66,000 pounds and helps fight crime?

The answer is the Mine Resistant Ambush Protected Vehicle that was added Wednesday to the Pittsburg County Sheriffs Department’s fleet.

The MRAPV weighs some 66,000 pounds, has 2600 miles and it didn’t cost the county a single penny, according to Sheriff Joel Kerns.

Kerns said the vehicle has just 2,600 miles, was originally worth $ 1.4 million and was set to be scrapped by a government agency before it was purchased by a Wilburton couple David and Patricia Donoly owners of Arkansas-Oklahoma Railroad for just $2,500.

David Donoly was he was happy to provide the vehicle for the people of Pittsburg County.

“My wife and I were tickled at the opportunity to be able to get this for the sheriff’s department,” David Donoly said.

The vehicle was purchased through the Law Enforcement Support Office, Kerns said.

The giant armored vehicle seats 12, has four sky lights and a gunner-hole.

Kerns said the vehicle can be used for such cases as  active shooters, standoffs and hostage situations.

“This vehicle can be also used in search and rescue operations,” Kerns said.

“But mainly its for the safety of our officers.”

Donoly said that he was excited to have the chance to provide this level of protection to the Sheriffs Department.

“I just think about situations like Trooper Rocky Eales, maybe his life could have been saved if he had this type of vehicle to use,” Donoly said.

In 1999 Oklahoma State Trooper Rocky Eales was shot and killed as he and other officers, along with the district attorney's drug task force, were serving a warrant at a rural residence in Sequoyah County. The officers had just arrived at the residence when they were ambushed while still in their cruiser. The round was fired from a .223 caliber rifle and struck Trooper Eales in the side, just above his vest's side panels, according to ohptrooper.com.

Meanwhile Kerns said the MRAPV can travel as fast as 65 miles per hour and go anywhere.

“Its a good deal, Donoly said. “That means this vehicle get to a dangerous situation here in the county, protect the officers while they protect us and everyone can go home happy.

Sheriff Kerns said there have been at least three situations in the last year that this vehicle could have made a difference.

But even if its not needed, Donoly said he’s happy its there for the sheriff’s use.

“I would rather they have it and not need it then they need it and not have it,” Donoly said.

Contact Jeanne LeFlore at jleflore@mcalesternews.com.