Lovelock needs an MRAP?

Lovelock needs an MRAP?

Lovelock needs an MRAP?

Have you seen it? There was a picture of it on the front page of last week's newspaper, (Lovelock Review-Miner). They call it a Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected vehicle, MRAP for short. 

What a mouthful! It's a huge yellow monster of a military vehicle. And it's coming to Lovelock! It would scare the daylights out of the enemy in combat. What will be the reaction of school children and seniors when they see it rolling down their formerly peaceful streets? Does Lovelock really need this monstrosity?

With the city police, the Sheriff's Department, Nevada Highway Patrol, plus the indian colony police, well this amounts to four law enforcement agencies in the sleepy little desert town of two thousand inhabitants. Lovelock also has it's large courthouse with all of it's associated bureaus, probation department, etc. Then you have the huge prison complex right outside town with a sizable portion of the town's population employed there. Can you say police state? 

What are all the police to do in order to look busy and productive? They don't want to be seen just standing around. So they seek out crime. They stop more motorists and check them out. Who knows what they're up to? They scope out the vehicles parked at the bars and target them as they drive home. Finding an excuse to pull someone over is not very hard. "You didn't come to a complete stop at that last stop sign". Of course it's nighttime and there's nobody around for blocks. Also, "It looked like you were weaving". I personally have been stopped, pulled over and interrogated with these flimsy reasons in Lovelock.

A DUI can easily ruin your life. Court costs, attorney's fees, increased insurance premiums, your picture in the paper, a permanent record and a neverending association with police in complying with their requirements - there's no end to it. But the police make a concerted effort to issue DUIs. Fewer people go out for a couple of beers on a Friday evening. You have to be wary driving the streets at night. Bar business slacks off and eventually they close down.

Does the overabundance of police presence really make the town safer? Is the tremendous cost to the taxpayers warranted? Sure it creates employment, but does it provide a valuable service? What about the town's reputation to tourists and the people who drive through? 

Do the thousands of people who travel to Burning Man feel secure and protected when entering the event and seeing a large show of force, or do they feel intimidated and perhaps targeted for arrest and large fines? If, as the County claims, policing Burning Man is such a difficult and costly endeavor, then why do it? Why not let the Black Rock City Association hire private security and just respond to emergencies when called by them?

The rolling into town of the giant armored law enforcement vehicle is just the beginning. Its the first step in the militarization of law enforcement in Lovelock. What's next, Robocops?

Just imagine - Your kid gets in a dispute with a neighbour kid and he unfortunately calls 911. Next thing you know, you look out your window and see that huge yellow shape along with a fearsome SWAT team. They're on your front lawn. Their bright lights are blinding you, and they're coming for you... Your tax dollars at work!

So does our future hold a scene of a quiet peaceful little desert town or does it on the other hand hold an alternate? Could a nightmare scenario, a science fiction like future environment similar to the above await Lovelock with a militarized law enforcement?

What do you really think? Does Lovelock need and want an MRAP?

Dan O'Connor can be reached at