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New Brunswick police are rolling out a monstrous new vehicle that once served as a “radio/communications vehicle” for the U.S. military, adding a second mobile precinct to the department’s fleet, New Brunswick Today reports .

New Brunswick authorities say the vehicle will be deployed on city streets “over the next few weeks,” and that it will “most likely be seen throughout various city neighborhoods where the department’s Neighborhood Police Teams patrol.”

In a press release touting the new vehicle, NBPD Captain J.T. Miller wrote that it will also be making appearances “on Easton Avenue during upcoming Rutgers Big Ten football games.”

Provided through the Department of Defense’s controversial “1033” program, which hands over surplus military equipment to police departments across the nation at little or no cost, the new vehicle cost the city nothing.

It’s part of a package of equipment worth $243,000 being given to the NBPD via the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA).

City police also received five workstations, four laptop computers, an infrared illuminator, and a coffee-maker valued at $238, as we reported in 2014. The coffee-maker was a steal.  Good job, New Brunswick.

The program began in 1997 and, as of last year, had distributed $4.3 billion worth of items to local law enforcement.

But the entire program came under fire after military equipment was deployed against peaceful protesters in Ferguson, Missouri after the controversial killing of 19-year-old Michael Brown in August 2014.

Now, the governing bodies that oversee police agencies must specifically vote to enter the “1033” program, the result of a change in policy that took effect earlier this year in response to the controversy.

Police officials compared the new vehicle to the existing mobile precinct, unit #950, a much smaller box truck.

“It’s going to be equipped as a small office like the other precinct is,” Miller told the City Council in September, adding that it is about eighteen years old and won’t last much longer.

“Hopefully we can have them both out there at the same time but eventually the old one will die, so we’ll be replacing that one.”

“The original mobile police precinct continues to serve the police department and our communities well,” said NBPD Director Anthony Caputo, according to the release.  “It is always a welcome addition to any neighborhood where it is deployed.”

In May, the New Brunswick City Council voted unanimously to continue participating in the “1033” program.

Just days earlier, however, President Barack Obama had visited New Jersey to announce he was adding new restrictions to prevent the military from giving away armored vehicles, grenade launchers, bayonets and large caliber weapons.

We’ve seen how militarized gear can sometimes give people a feeling like it’s an occupying force as

 opposed to a force that’s part of the community that’s protecting them and serving them,” Obama said.

The city had the vehicle since September 2014, noting it was in “remarkable condition,” but only recently completed its efforts to retrofit it to serve as a “mobile community police precinct.”

“The police department gave the vehicle a fresh coat of paint and retrofitted the interior,” the release reads.

Caputo, who is known for coming out of retirement to lead the department for a second time, and for presiding over NBPD during some of its biggest controversies, said he hoped the vehicle would help improve the relationship between the police and the community.  Not likely, in my view.

“I look forward to this new vehicle being just as successful and well received as the original, and I am confident it will serve as another tool which improves the community policing efforts of our officers,” Caputo said.

The Director invited “any resident or visitor to walk up to the mobile precinct and say hello to our officers,” according to the release.

“Face to face, friendly communication between the public and the police is the best way to improve positive relationships and strengthen the bonds between the police and the neighborhoods we are committed to serve.” Sure. Nothing promotes friendly communication like behemoth armored vehicle.

While police in many other communities like Piscataway and Dunnellen have received assault rifles or other military weapons through the “1033” program, the NBPD has not yet received any weapons from the U.S. military.

Part of the new restrictions on the program require law enforcement to provide additional certifications and assurances before receiving explosives or equipment specifically to deal with riots.

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