South Bethany Police Acquire New Military Vehicles for Emergency - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

South Bethany Police Acquire New Military Vehicles for Emergency Use

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South Bethany Police Department's newly acquired military humvee has rattled some people due the truck's intimidating presence. (Photo: South Bethany PD) South Bethany Police Department's newly acquired military humvee has rattled some people due the truck's intimidating presence. (Photo: South Bethany PD)
Selbyville Police Department's military vehicle acquired through a federal army surplus program sits in a parking lot waiting to be used for emergency purposes. (Photo: South Bethany PD) Selbyville Police Department's military vehicle acquired through a federal army surplus program sits in a parking lot waiting to be used for emergency purposes. (Photo: South Bethany PD)

SOUTH BETHANY BEACH, Del.- Some new police muscle that arrived in a quiet coastal town in Sussex County has some people on edge.

The South Bethany Police Department recently acquired a used military grade boat and humvee to use for evacuations and other emergency services when severe weather strikes.

But some from the town have expressed opposition to the police department's acquisition of the vehicles, questioning the cost and the intimidating presence of Army trucks in a quiet town such as South Bethany.

When a bad storm causes major flooding on the coast and a state of emergency is declared in Delaware, it's the state's National Guard that gears up in military trucks to reach homes on impassable streets.

But when a state of emergency is not declared and significant flooding occurs, it's up to local law enforcement to tend to flooded areas.

That's one of the reasons why South Bethany's Chief of Police Troy Crowson says the vehicles were acquired. Crowson said the military grade boat will give the department freedom to perform inspections during flooding events without needing to rent or borrow a boat.

South Bethany's acquisition is part of a federal police program called the Law Enforcement Support Office, which distributes old military property from the Department of Defense to police agencies around the county.  About 8,000 police agencies around the country use the military supply program.

Crowson said both vehicles were acquired at no cost to the town and both are maintained with grants and donated funds. The police chief said very minimal taxpayer dollars are used to support the department's participation in the program.

South Bethany isn't the only town in Sussex County making use of the supply program; Dewey Beach police have a military truck and Selbyville has an even bigger repertoire for emergency purposes.

Rebecca Mais has owned McCabe's Gourmet Market in South Bethany for more than 30 years. Mais said she's witnessed bad flooding in town and in Fenwick Island where she and her family live.

"Every street was flooded back here [York Road]. You couldn't tell the lagoon from the road," said Mais.

Mais said she's been stranded at home due to flooding events and doesn't see a problem with the police having extra supplies to help get people to safety.

"I trust that our police forces here know what they're doing. These guys are always about the safety of our residents here," said Mais.

And for Mais, it's a comforting thought enough for her to keep calm and carry on.

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