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Taking Tailgate Patrol to the Next Level

Jim Hightower: Ohio State University’s new armored truck is overkill for the security needed at its football games.

Ohio State University’s new armored truck is overkill for the security needed at its football games.

In the ever-escalating competition to be the No. 1 big-time college football program in the nation, Ohio State University bulked up last fall with a monster recruit named Maxx.

Actually, it’s not the coaching staff that signed this brute, but the OSU campus police department. And the recruit’s full name is MaxxPro — not a football player, but a 19-ton armored fighting vehicle built by a Pentagon contractor to withstand “ballistic arms fire, mine fields, IEDs, and nuclear, biological, and chemical environments.”

Wow, college games really have gotten rough.

But the campus police department, which received the MaxxPro as a gift from the Pentagon (i.e., us taxpayers), says it’s not just playing games. Maxx is available for big actions, like hostage scenarios, killers loose on campus, and extreme flooding of up to three feet.

Well, have such things been a problem at OSU? Uh…no.

Would a huge, slow, gas-guzzling vehicle designed for warfare be effective if any of the above were actually to occur? No one in the department wanted to tackle that question.

Oh, by the way, operating and maintaining these machines requires specially trained and licensed personnel. So, are any of OSU’s officers qualified? Again, no answer from headquarters.

Also, the vehicles are subject to frequent rollovers, and they lack the ability to go off-road or to maneuver in confined areas. That doesn’t sound ideal for a college campus. But the gendarmerie say they’ve adjusted Maxx to fit their needs. How? By removing the top gun turret and repainting the vehicle.

OSU police finally admitted that Maxx’s chief role would be to provide a police “presence” on football game days. Isn’t that great?

Police authorities now believe they need a show of military force to keep tailgaters in check.