Panama City Beach Adds Humvees to Their Fleet - WMBB News 13 - The Panhandle's News Leader

Panama City Beach Adds Humvees to Their Fleet

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Three military Humvees rolled into Panama City Beach Wednesday night, but they aren't parked at the local military base, they're sitting at the Panama City Beach Police Yard.

So, they are not your standard police car?

"No," said Beach Police Chief Drew Whitman. "They are not our standard police car."

Soon enough though the cars will act as useful tools for the department.

"We were in a lucky predicament where the government was going to be down sizing some of the Humvees," said Whitman. "They are going to be going to a different vehicle now for the military."

If you know anything about Humvees you know they aren't built for comfort.

"I lived in one of these for a year myself so I know they are not a comfortable vehicles," said Whitman. "But, they serve a purpose."

"We could have used them quite a bit during the flooding we had a couple residential areas that were under water," said Chief Whitman. "We put our cars on the outskirts so people couldn't drive through, but with these we could have actually drove through at slow speeds where we wouldn't have created a wake."

During the flooding over the Fourth of July weekend the vehicles may have reached places normal patrol cars couldn't.

"It would have worked great in the neighborhoods just to help out," said Whitman. "So, people know we are out there concerned about them trying to look out for them and their property."

The department also has an active Marine Unit Whitman says the Humvees could also be used to tow the vessel when needed.

"But the main thing is just in case something bad goes we have great tools to help us out," said Whitman.

And like other military surplus, when and if there comes a time the department no longer needs the vehicles they will make the long trek back to Jacksonville.

"It could be a year, that could be thirty years, it just depends on when the city no longer sees a benefit in the vehicles that's when we will give them back," said Whitman.

But for now they will sit ready and waiting on a paint job and any opportunity to serve.

"I'm just looking forward to getting them dressed up so the public can see them and we can get them out on the road," said Whitman.

Chief Whitman says he hopes to have the vehicles ready before the start of the school year so kids have opportunity to check them out on their first day of school.

The vehicles cost $1500 a piece to the department.