35ºF

Military vehicle to patrol stretch of South Texas border

MRAP vehicle delivered to Mission Police Department

MISSION, Texas – The MRAP -- or Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected -- vehicle is rolling into the Rio Grande Valley straight from the battlefield in Afghanistan.

The tan fortress-like vehicle weighs 40 tons and can reach speeds of 80 mph.

It will soon be used by the Mission Police Department to patrol the 13 miles of border they are responsible for.

"Every year, we are getting more prepared, better equipment and better training," said Mission Police Sgt. Manny Casas.

The MRAP comes at no cost. It was given to Mission police through a federal grant.

"They can either destroy them, sell them as metal or give them to police agencies who need them," Casas said.

Mission police officials say in recent years, the cartels across the border have become more aggressive.

"Years back, they wouldn't even think about that because (cartel leaders) would tell them, 'Don't bring a gun. Don't even even try. Don't mess with (U.S law enforcement) because its going to bring heat,'" Casas said.

The military vehicle is virtually impenetrable. It can withstand improvised explosive devices, .50-caliber rounds and even rocket-propelled grenades.

Casas said he believes it will help curb violence and keep the men and women of U.S. law enforcement safe.

"You got to remember that the guys we miss are going to get to San Antonio. They are going to get to Houston. They are going to get to Chicago, to New York or to where ever they want to go and are they less dangerous over there?" Casas asked. "No."