Concord officials expect BearCat by February
The BearCat approved in September by city councilors is expected to arrive in Concord in late January or early February, interim police Chief Brad Osgood said yesterday.
The $258,000 armored police vehicle, paid for with a federal grant, was still being built as of last week. Before he retired as chief Friday, John Duval said the department had already begun talking with Merrimack Valley and Concord school officials about the BearCat’s arrival. And officers assigned to the schools have received some training for the new vehicle, Duval said.
Osgood said yesterday he expected to introduce the BearCat to the public slowly, perhaps to school officials first, then students and then to the public at the annual National Night Out in August. The police and fire departments, as well as other local agencies, staff that community event and regularly display equipment.
“That might be the best opportunity,” Osgood said, to let the public get a close look at the vehicle, which has generated a fair amount of controversy since Duval applied for the grant last year. Many criticized the application for listing the Free State Project, Occupy New Hampshire and Sovereign Citizens as challenges to law enforcement.
Duval later apologized for his choice of words, and the city amended the application. The city council approved the application, 11-4.
The Lenco BearCat would protect those inside it against weapons as powerful as military grade, .50-caliber bullets. The vehicle will be owned by the Central New Hampshire Special Operations Unit, which includes Concord and nearly 20 other cities and towns. Concord applied for the grant because is the largest community within the unit.
Osgood said it will be stored at the Concord Police Station – and spend most of its time there. Osgood said the BearCat won’t be driven on the streets unless it is responding to an emergency situation or being taken out for training exercises.
(Annmarie Timmins can be reached at 369-3323, firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @annmarietimmins.)