Concord police will pick up BearCat today
A BearCat will finally arrive in Concord.
Acting police Chief Brad Osgood said two Concord officers are scheduled to pick up the $258,000 armored vehicle today. Paid for with a Department of Homeland Security grant, the BearCat can protect against weapons as powerful as military-grade, .50-caliber bullets. The manufacturer, Lenco of Pittsfield, Mass., had delayed its arrival earlier this year.
“We’ve been waiting for a while, and it’s finally going to arrive,” Osgood said. “And we’ll take it from here.”
The city council voted 11-4 in September to accept the grant money on behalf of the Central New Hampshire Special Operations Unit. The 18 cities and towns in that group will own the vehicle together, pay for its ongoing maintenance and share it in emergency situations. As the largest member, Concord applied for the grant and will house the BearCat.
The BearCat has been a source of controversy since former police chief John Duval applied for the grant in 2012. The 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.
Osgood said his department is working on a policy that will outline who would use the vehicle and when it would be brought on a call. But he said the BearCat could be taken out before that policy is completed.
“We started a draft, and I would hope to have hands on that and have an inspection of that policy by the end of the month. . . . It would most likely be used in a training before that,” he said.
Osgood said departments in Manchester and Keene, the New Hampshire State Police and the Southern New Hampshire Special Operations Unit own similar armored vehicles.
“I just want to get it here and take a look at it,” Osgood said.
But it will usually be out of sight for the public, he said.
“It’s going to be secured in the garage,” Osgood said. “It’s not going to be sitting in the open parking lot.”
In the Central New Hampshire Special Operations Unit, the BearCat will replace a 30-year-old U.S. Air Force surplus Peacekeeper armored vehicle that officials have said is no longer reliable. Osgood said it has been used on at least one operation in Concord within the past year.
“We did an early morning warrant service at a house, at a suspected drug dealing house (in Concord), and they used the old Peacekeeper for that,” Osgood said.
This vehicle could last another 30 years, he said.
“This could be around for a long time,” he said.
(Megan Doyle can be reached at 369-3321 or firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @megan_e_doyle.)