Concord’s BearCat delayed by manufacturer Lenco
City of Germantown maintenance worker Perry Blue checks out the BearCat, an armored personnel carrier, at the Germantown Municipal Center in Germantown, Tenn., Aug. 8,2006. The $184,000 truck was purchased through a homeland security grant. The BearCat will be available to agencies around the region, particularly law enforcement in a six-county homeland security district that includes Shelby County. (AP file)
The arrival of a BearCat in Concord has been delayed by its manufacturer, acting police Chief Brad Osgood said yesterday.
At the end of last year, Osgood had predicted the $258,000 armored police vehicle, paid for with a federal grant, would be in Concord by late January or early February. But he said the manufacturer – Lenco, based in Pittsfield, Mass. – has now pushed that date to late spring or early summer.
“We got notified by the manufacturer in January that due to the receipt of a government contract, all BearCat deliveries had been pushed back,” Osgood said.
The council voted 11-4 in September to accept nearly $260,000 for the Lenco BearCat, an armored vehicle that can protect against weapons as powerful as military-grade .50-caliber bullets. It will be owned by the 20 communities and towns in the Central New Hampshire Special Operations Unit, but as the largest city in the group, Concord applied for the federal grant money and will store the vehicle.
“It’s for training, it’s for emergency situations,” Osgood said. “I want to make sure it’s used for that first and foremost.”
A Lenco representative did not respond to a request for comment, but Osgood anticipates the BearCat will arrive by June. The Department of Homeland Security grant that will pay for the armored vehicle expires in July, he said, and the city would have to seek an extension for those federal dollars if the BearCat is delayed further.
The vehicle has been a source of controversy since former police chief John Duval applied for that grant last year. That application listed the Free State Project, Occupy New Hampshire and Sovereign Citizens as challenges to law enforcement. Duval later apologized for his words, and the city amended the application.
The delay could push back plans to train officers for the new vehicle, said Lt. Timothy O’Malley of the Concord Police Department.
“We’ll adapt to it,” O’Malley said. “We have to accept it.”
Last year, Osgood had suggested the public might get its first look at the BearCat at the annual National Night Out in August. The police and fire departments, along with other local agencies, participate in that community event and regularly display equipment.
But Osgood said yesterday the department will make its decisions about introducing the vehicle to the public once it is housed in Concord.
“We just have to wait until it arrives,” he said.
(Megan Doyle can be reached at 369-3321 or firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @megan_e_doyle.)