The Jefferson County Sheriff's Office wants the public to know that, no matter what, their safety is very important to them. YNN's Elizabeth Jeneault was at the office's Public Safety Awareness Day event, where she says they displayed a new military vehicle in addition to other equipment to prove they have what it takes to address life threatening situations.
WATERTOWN, N.Y. -- The Jefferson County Sheriff's Office's nineteen ton MRAP vehicle can withstand bullets and explosives. It typically costs $600,000, but the office got it for free.
That's because they applied for it through the government's 1033 program which gives excess property to local law enforcement agencies. Some have called the vehicle excessive, but the office says the public can rest knowing it'll be operated safely.
"All the individuals that drive this vehicle, or actually both vehicles, will go to training and be trained how to operate it," said Paul Trudeau, a Jefferson County Sheriff's Office Undersheriff.
Trudeau says they don't plan to use their new MRAP vehicle that often, only in armed standoff situations. Vehicles that they do plan to use frequently over the next few months, however, are snowmobiles.
"They actually go out on routine patrols, they patrol the snow courses, the paths that the snowmobiles use just to keep some of the snowmobilers down to a reasonable speed," said Trudeau.
Life Net of New York also works to keep those snowmobilers safe.
One of the biggest reasons why the helicopter program was established in Watertown a little over a year ago was to quickly transport injured riders to area hospitals.
"We actually go out and we work with a lot of the snowmobile teams that are out there, the riding clubs and we work with them to make sure that we know where we're going to land, how to call us, how to get a hold of the fire departments," explained Keith Bates, a Flight Nurse with Life Net of New York.
But in the North Country where people often live on the outskirts of town, the helicopter is used for a variety of other life-threatening emergencies.
"A lot of the hospitals up here don't have capabilities or the highest quality capability of taking care of people with heart attacks. What we can do is take care of that person and take them to the facility that's going to get them definitive care," said Bates.
Between, the Watertown Police Department, the Sheriff's Office, ambulance crews and Life Net, there are a number of ways to keep local residents out of harm's way and make sure they're treated promptly when something does go wrong.
The office's ski-doos, life boats, and regular patrol vehicles were also on display at Sunday's event.