by Jan Stearns
You’ve probably seen it around town – a military humvee emblazoned with Waterville Valley Department of Public Safety identifiers. According to the Public Safety website, the department was given the military grade HMMWV or “Hummer” through a transfer from a Federal Program, the Law Enforcement Support Office (LESO).
What is LESO? LESO was created in 1997 when Congress authorized the Secretary of Defense to transfer excess property from the Department of Defense to federal and state law enforcement agencies. Since its inception, LESO has transferred over 5 million items enhancing law enforcement agency capabilities and saving tax-payers more than $2.1 billion dollars.
What is a HMMWV? It’s a military acronym for High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle, commonly referred to as a “Hummer.” The Hummer replaced the Willys Jeep as the basic mode of transportation for today’s soldier. It comes in many variants. The town of Waterville Valley’s Hummer is a 2008 M1025 with 20,000 miles and runs on a V8 liquid cooled diesel engine. It was acquired from Camp Johnson in Colchester, Vermont.
What will this vehicle be used for? This vehicle will be utilized in special emergency situations such as severe weather emergencies, search & rescue efforts, incident management, wild land firefighting, remote patrol, and taking emergency personnel and equipment to remote critical infrastructure.
How much did this vehicle cost? The vehicle was free. It was a transfer from the Federal government. When the vehicle is no longer needed the DPS will transfer the vehicle back to the federal government.
How does DPS plan to maintain it? The LESO provides access to parts at no cost to the department. The department will maintain the vehicle in-house with parts assistance through the LESO. If any major repairs are needed, the vehicle will be placed out of service and returned to the federal government.
When can we see it? The vehicle is now in service and can be occasionally seen around town. The vehicle has been “demilitarized” in appearance by the DPS, and it has been painted and lettered in line with the other DPS vehicles.
Questions? Contact Chief David Noyes at the Waterville Valley Department of Public Safety – 603-236-8809 ext 2.