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Monstrous truck beefs up fleet

A 50-caliber, full-metal-jacket bullet won't penetrate the thick steel plates on Medford's brand-new, $260,000 SWAT truck that looks like a Humvee on steroids.

Built on a Ford F-550 chassis, the behemoth will offer protection for up to 10 officers, who can sight their targets through the revolving gun turret on the roof or gun portals in the doors and walls.

"We got an early Christmas present," Medford police Chief Tim George said, showing off the truck to city councilors Thursday.

Many councilors tried out the turret, and Councilor John Michaels even joked the truck could be useful in a zombie apocalypse.

The armored truck already got a test spin on Nov. 29 when the SWAT team descended on the 3000 block of Shelterwood Circle, just off Howard Avenue in north Medford.

Police officers arrested Antonio Ledesma Miranda, 29, on charges related to a shooting at a local Mexican restaurant.

George said he anticipates the truck will be called out about 20 times a year to handle situations that could potentially turn violent.

Medford police already have a SWAT command vehicle that will be deployed along with the truck to potential confrontations.

The behemoth was paid for from savings carried over from previous budgets. The department has seen recent savings in equipment repair, fuel and other services that allowed money to be passed along to purchase the truck, George said.

Everything on the new rig is big, including the tires and rims, which would cost $6,700 each to replace. The tires are designed to operate even if they run flat.

The windows on the truck are thicker and just as tough as the half-inch metal plating on the outside.

"This can take multiple hits from a 50-caliber, full-metal-jacket weapon," Sgt. Ben Lytle said.

He said the truck also comes equipped with bulletproof skirts that can be attached along the bottom of the vehicle to protect officers' legs in case of a shoot-out.

Reach reporter Damian Mann at 541-776-4476 or dmann@mailtribune.com.

Medford Police Chief Tim George looks at his department’s new armored SWAT truck. - Julia Moore