BATTLE CREEK, Mich, May 22, 2020 —
Several days of heavy rainfall forced two mid-Michigan dams to fail May 19, forcing the evacuation of more than 10,000 Midland County area residents.
As Tittabawassee River floodwaters threatened Midland and communities further downstream like Saginaw and Bay City, nearby Bay County Sheriff’s deputies offered flood rescue assistance using their Mine-Resistant Ambush-Protected vehicle, or MRAP, they received through the DLA Disposition Services Law Enforcement Support Office in 2017.
The MRAP, originally produced to help U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan survive ambushes or explosive blasts like roadside bombs, has become popular with U.S. law enforcement agencies in recent years, offering high clearance for flood situations and thick armor for active shooter, hostage or standoff situations. The vehicles are free for qualified law enforcement agencies, who typically pay to transport them to their communities plus cover maintenance, painting and any adjustments they need to the vehicles to meet local policing needs.
Bay County Sheriff Troy Cunningham told local reporters May 20 that his office test drove and prepared the vehicle with lifejackets and personal protective equipment.
“We got the dive team on standby in case Bay, Midland, or Saginaw County needs it, as well as the MRAP,” Cunningham was quoted as saying. “We’re getting geared up and ready. In case anybody needs us, we’ll be there. We’re on-ready for rescue.”
Later the same day, the Bay County Sheriff MRAP was called upon for residential floodwater rescues in nearby Saginaw Township and posted information and photos about the effort on the office’s social media feed.
“The Bay County Sheriff’s Office was able to take our Search and Rescue MRAP … to Saginaw County yesterday to assist with the evacuation and rescue efforts in flooded areas of Saginaw Township,” the office posted. “We are thankful to have such a great resource and happy to assist our surrounding counties in times of need.”
According to the Bay County Sheriff community information feed, the flood surge from the Tittabawassee River peaked in the Saginaw River May 21 and was expected to stay at an elevated level into the weekend.