DEFUNIAK SPRINGS - Walton County Sheriff's officials are defending themselves against criticism over a new piece of equipment.
They recently bought a surplus military vehicle called an M-RAP, or mine-resistant, ambush-protected vehicle.
The military removed all of it's equipment from the m-rap before selling it to the Walton County Sheriff's Office for $2,500.
Many residents say they don't see the need for this type of armored vehicle but Sheriff Michael Adkinson says his employees will use it strictly to protect SWAT team members.
Sheriff Adkinson added, "It is a tool. In it as itself it is not bad or good. It is how it is used that justifies that. From our stand point it is simply a piece of protective equipment. Again, we hope we never have to use it, and I do recognize those that are critical of that."
Adkinson also pointed out that many other Sheriff's offices around the state and here in the panhandle have bought similar version of the M-RAP.