Wayne County sheriff deputies now have a 18,500-pound, fully-armored ballistic steel truck in their toolkit to fight crime.
The armored tactical vehicle, which rolled into Wayne County from Thomasville Wednesday, offers deputies a SWAT response vehicle Sheriff Larry Pierce has wanted for years.
"Our officers throughout the nation are in more danger today than, I would say, than any other time in the history of law enforcement," Pierce said. "My goal is to provide the equipment our guys need to protect the citizens and themselves in this county."
The 2016 CSI Armoring Nemesis is fully surrounded by ballistic steel and able to withstand bullets from .50-caliber rifle, .762 rounds and grenades, said Jonathan Stancil, vice president of CSI Armoring. The vehicle's 3-inch thick glass is also bullet resistant.
"You can shoot it with a .50 caliber and it won't do nothing but bounce off of it," Stancil said. "You can throw a grenade underneath it and it wouldn't do anything but make the truck bounce a little bit.
"This truck right here, you can drive it up the front steps of a house and knock the front door down, if you want to. It's basically build to do whatever you need to do."
The vehicle, which can hold 12 officers, has an intimidating factor, which Stancil said can be a benefit in the field. It also offers protection for law enforcement entering a hostile environment.
"It does give an intimidating factor when you see that rolling up versus a regular vehicle, and that is one thing that is to our advantage," Pierce said.
"If you've got to have it and you need it, you want it to be intimidating to some degree because in some situations that might be the difference in having to use force (or) not."
The vehicle was purchased for $170,000, close to $100,000 less than a new model. The 2016 Nemesis was used for demonstrations, which offered a lower cost, Pierce said.
"It's primarily going to be used for rescue purposes, for the SWAT team to go in and extract a downed officer or go into a hostage situation and get close enough to extract people out in a safe manner, if they have to do an extraction. That is our purpose for purchasing it."
Pierce used money collected from concealed carry permits, fingerprinting and drug forfeitures to purchase the vehicle.
"This is a goal I've had since I've been sheriff because I think this is a vital part of what our SWAT team needs to their jobs," Pierce said.