MCSO first became involved with LESO about seven years ago after receiving an email from the Illinois Sheriffs’ Association.
“At the time, there was not much available to us because the military was fighting two wars overseas,” said Sheriff Ted Holder, who was deputy sheriff at the time. “Early last year, we were notified that a lot of surplus equipment was coming back to the States and would be released to law enforcement. When we started looking at what was available, I could see this was equipment we could have used in years past during the ice storms, floods and tornadoes, but we could never have afforded it. So I started making a list of what we needed to have if another disaster happened; for example, the troop transport trucks would have been ideal during the (2011) flood but were not available at the time.”
Metropolis Police Chief Harry Masse first learned of LESO as an Illinois State Trooper. When he was appointed to his current position in October 2011, he continued what his predecessor Mike Worthen was a member of. “I didn’t start this program, I just probably took it to another level,” he said.
Masse explained that participation in LESO requires a four-step approval process and participating departments have to pay a yearly membership, which is based on the department’s size. Otherwise, he said, “the equipment for the most part is free.”
So far, the MPD has obtained almost $1.5 million worth of equipment through LSO. That includes: a dump truck, bulldozer, four Humvees, generators, blankets, cots, air mattresses, tents, a couple of trailers, a semi and a semi trailer, portable lighting equipment, a forklift, nine railroad containers, two vehicles that will be used as mobile command centers and a Unimog, which is a mini truck with off-road capabilities.
At the MCSO, Holder has acquired four Humvees, two 5-ton transport trucks, nine generators, support vehicles, tents and radio equipment through LESO.
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