The South Lake Tahoe Police Department has acquired a new SWAT vehicle from the U.S. military.
The Max Pro M-RAP is as big as a semi truck, looks like a tank and if from the war in Afghanistan.
It can survive a hit from a bomb, run on flat tires and if it catches fire, it can put that fire out. The gun turret on top towers over the curious people it attracts like Angela Phillips.
"It's a big, it's scary and why do we need it?" says Phillips.
Jake Herminghaus, with the police department, answers those questions by saying before this, the department had no way to approach threats and rescue victims. Now it does.
“We were excited of course because we didn’t have anything to protect our officers or our fire department or anything in any real critical incident," says Herminghaus.
The $600,000 vehicle only has 10,000 miles on it and it was free through a military grant. Herminghaus says people also wonder if its expensive to maintain.
“It comes from the government, we can get tires, we can get everything form switches and knobs," says Herminghaus.
He says with the war in Afghanistan winding down, vehicles like this one would be mothballed. But this way they can be put to civilian use and the military can call them back into service if needed.
Supplies to maintain the vehicle will be paid for by the military. It can be recalled by the military at any time if it should be needed for combat. South Lake Tahoe Police Nick Carlquist says without the vehicle, the nearest SWAT team would be an hour away.
“Because of funding issues, because of the way the economy is now we are having a hard time getting police officers in general, let alone adequate equipment for a SWAT team that the city needs," Carlquist says.
Homes and businesses in Truckee and Lake Tahoe are under several feet of snow.
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(AP) - Nevada wildlife officials say a young black bear euthanized at Lake Tahoe last week had the same mother as two others they've had to put down because they lost their fear of humans.
(AP) - The U.S. Forest Service has abandoned logging plans it suspended in the mountains above Lake Tahoe nearly two years ago.
Tourism in North Lake Tahoe is rising dramatically even in the drought. Hotel occupancy was up 8 percent last weekend over the same period last year according to the North Lake Tahoe Resort Association.