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Concord police unveil BearCat

  • Concord acting police Chief Brad Osgood stands next to the new BearCat at the Concord police station on Green Street on Monday.<br/><br/>(GEOFF FORESTER/Monitor staff)

    Concord acting police Chief Brad Osgood stands next to the new BearCat at the Concord police station on Green Street on Monday.

    (GEOFF FORESTER/Monitor staff)

  • Concord Police Sgt. Mike Pearl is reflected in side bulletproof glass of the new BearCat at police headquarters Monday.<br/><br/>(GEOFF FORESTER/Monitor staff)

    Concord Police Sgt. Mike Pearl is reflected in side bulletproof glass of the new BearCat at police headquarters Monday.

    (GEOFF FORESTER/Monitor staff)

  • Concord Police Sgt. Mike Pearl stands next to the new BearCat at police headquarters Monday.<br/><br/>(GEOFF FORESTER/Monitor staff)

    Concord Police Sgt. Mike Pearl stands next to the new BearCat at police headquarters Monday.

    (GEOFF FORESTER/Monitor staff)

  • Concord Police Sgt. Mike Peal stands next to the new Bearcat at police headquarters Monday.<br/><br/>(GEOFF FORESTER/Monitor staff)

    Concord Police Sgt. Mike Peal stands next to the new Bearcat at police headquarters Monday.

    (GEOFF FORESTER/Monitor staff)

  • Carol McCarthy gets a hug from OB as his mother Sheena rocks newborn Kai during their visit to Concord last weekend.<br/><br/>(GEOFF FORESTER/Monitor staff)<br/><br/><br/>

    Carol McCarthy gets a hug from OB as his mother Sheena rocks newborn Kai during their visit to Concord last weekend.

    (GEOFF FORESTER/Monitor staff)


  • Concord acting police Chief Brad Osgood stands next to the new BearCat at the Concord police station on Green Street on Monday.<br/><br/>(GEOFF FORESTER/Monitor staff)
  • Concord Police Sgt. Mike Pearl is reflected in side bulletproof glass of the new BearCat at police headquarters Monday.<br/><br/>(GEOFF FORESTER/Monitor staff)
  • Concord Police Sgt. Mike Pearl stands next to the new BearCat at police headquarters Monday.<br/><br/>(GEOFF FORESTER/Monitor staff)
  • Concord Police Sgt. Mike Peal stands next to the new Bearcat at police headquarters Monday.<br/><br/>(GEOFF FORESTER/Monitor staff)
  • Carol McCarthy gets a hug from OB as his mother Sheena rocks newborn Kai during their visit to Concord last weekend.<br/><br/>(GEOFF FORESTER/Monitor staff)<br/><br/><br/>

At approximately 1 p.m. yesterday, a garage door at 35 Green St. rattled open and a 6.7-liter twin turbo diesel engine rumbled to life. A black, 20,000-pound armored vehicle slowly chugged out into the blistering light of day.

Introducing the BearCat.

Nearly a year after the city of Concord agreed to purchase the $258,000 vehicle on behalf of the Central New Hampshire Special Operations Unit, it has arrived – albeit several months behind schedule. The manufacturer, Lenco of Pittsfield, Mass., delayed its arrival earlier this year.

Officers drove the vehicle up from Massachusetts last Tuesday, said acting police Chief Brad Osgood, during a tour yesterday of its exterior.

Equipped with run-flat tires, bulletproof glass and a half-inch steel outer layer, the BearCat is designed to protect against military-grade gunfire and close-range explosions, officials said. The 10-passenger G3 model is nearly 9 feet tall, 21 feet long and 8 feet wide, and sits atop a Ford F-550 chassis.

The vehicle is armed with gas and radiation detectors, a rotating gun turret, rifle ports and a detachable battering ram. Mike Pearl, a Concord police sergeant and the commander of the special operations unit, said it operates on a six-speed automatic transmission, gets about 12 miles per gallon and can reach a top speed of about 70 miles per hour.

The BearCat became a source of controversy last year after it was revealed that the Free State Project, Occupy New Hampshire and Sovereign Citizens had been listed on the grant application as potential challenges to law enforcement. The city later amended the application.

Debate also focused on whether the vehicle is needed in a relatively low-crime area.

The 17 cities and towns that comprise the regional unit will jointly own and maintain the vehicle, and will share it in emergency situations, police and Concord officials said.

“It’s an asset, it’s a tool, it’s a rescue vehicle,” Osgood said. “It’s meant for specific and limited use.”

So far it hasn’t seen any action. The vehicle has been inspected and insured, but it still needs to be registered, Pearl said. The regional unit has about 50 members, including about 10 Concord officers. Osgood said those members will be trained within the next two months on how to drive and operate the BearCat.

Osgood and Pearl said they are now finalizing policies on who can use the BearCat and when it will be brought on a call. The vehicle will only be deployed after several people in the unit sign off and Osgood is notified, Pearl said.

The BearCat replaces a 30-year-old U.S. Air Force surplus Peacekeeper armored vehicle that officials have said is no longer reliable. The unit has yet to decide what to do with that vehicle, Pearl said.

The BearCat is expected to last between 20 and 25 years. It’s under warranty for the first three years, Pearl said.

Osgood declined to show the inside of the vehicle, but said he may be open to that in the future. The vehicle will be tentatively housed at the police department.

(Jeremy Blackman can be reached at 369-3319, jblackman@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @JBlackmanCM.)

The only difference between men and boys is the price of their toys. This is just another boondoggle; a complete waste of taxpayers' money and a symbol of the profligacy of government officials with taxpayers' hard-earned dollars. Though the editors of the Concord Monitor believe this money to be "free" i.e., sourced from Washington and not Concord, these funds had to be earned by someone and paid in to the US Treasury or maybe these funds were borrowed from China. Now that we're stuck with this $258,000 toy , maybe we can use it as the state's most expensive snow plow...

From the photo, it seems to be a 4X4, so maybe they can do something useful by putting a plow on it. The overstaffed PD can give public works a hand when it snows.

Sloppy reporting. The article states, "...the Free State Project, Occupy New Hampshire and Sovereign Citizens had been listed on the grant application as potential challenges to law enforcement." The grant said the "Free State Project, Occupy New Hampshire and Sovereign Citizens represented a real and daily threat to the lives and property of the citizens of Concord." You see the distinction? The Police Chief falsified official government documentation in search of funds and wasn't prosecuted.

The councilors who voted for the BEARCAT were not all re-elected, although some were. One who did lost to Byron Champlin in Ward 4.

You can parse it any way you want, but for all the screaming and yelling about throwing the bums out it didn't happen.

Perhaps they can give the now surplus Peacekeeper to the Free State Project, Occupy New Hampshire or Sovereign Citizens?

Let's just completely subvert Posse Comitatus, by turning our local Peace Officers into soldiers and their equipment into weapons of war.

ta daaaaaaa!!! Nice waste of money. But then again those Free Staters and Tea Partiers are pretty dangerous.

So reassuring to know that the capital of our so-called 'Live Free or Die' state now has entered into the militarized, police-state mode. Whoever voted to approved this obscenity should be enthusiastically assisted to enter the ranks of the unemployed come election time. A new council should immediately fire the Chief of Police and search for a competent guardian of a free people. We don't need overseers to make the populace into docile compliance.

I think you are a little slow, Bub. All the councilors that voted for it were overwhelming reelected and the police chief has move on.

moved on.

You're mistaken, I know that one of the at large councilors who voted for it lost to Byron Champlin in Ward 4, and there were a couple of others as well.

No there weren't.

So, tell me this: What would happen if we had another hostage situation similar to the one at the YWCA in Manchester two years ago (which led to two deaths)? Or the standoff in Penacook? Or the one in Greenland, which led to the death of their police chief? If you were the highest-ranking officer in your community, which type of vehicle would you want for maximum protection from gunfire - a 30-year-old Peacekeeper, or a relatively new BearCat? Think about it. Think carefully.

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