Is the comedian’s pen mightier than the Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected vehicle? A small Michigan police force confirmed it is getting rid of its military vehicle that was mocked on HBO.
HBO host John Oliver on his show Sunday roundly criticized the militarization of police in America, including broadcasting a clip from Saginaw County in which a heavily armored 19-ton MRAP rolled down a small town’s streets.
(Content warning — strong language. Saginaw mention at 7:45.)
But Saginaw County Sheriff Bill Federspiel told Michigan Live his force had already been planning to ditch the armored vehicle. Originally a gift from the U.S. Army, Federspiel said he’d decided “about a month ago” to return the MRAP due to unexpected maintenance costs.
“We had it for six or eight months and didn’t use it once,” Federspiel said. “Why keep it around?”
Back in April, Federspiel called the MRAP a valuable addition to his arsenal.
“We’re constantly outgunned [by criminals],” he said. “I need every tool I can get.”
Saginaw County’s total population is just under 200,000. The county seat, Saginaw, is more than 100 miles away from Detroit and 80 miles from Lansing, the closest major cities.
Oliver contended that a town so small has no need for hulking, armored police vehicles.
Follow Zach Noble (@thezachnoble) on Twitter