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The following post appeared at and is reprinted here with permission. 

In many ways, the Boston Marathon bombing incident served as a wakeup call. Those in the law enforcement community and the public who may have harbored somewhat of an “It’s never going to happen here” sentiment were faced with the hard reality of the 21st century terrorism threat. While most agree that there is no feasible way of totally securing public safety in a free and open society, there is now more than ever a desire to provide law enforcement agencies with the latest and most effective safety procedures and equipment. At the top of the list of “must haves” is the tactical armored vehicle, like the BearCat, made by Pittsfield, MA-based Lenco Industries, Inc. . . .

More than a dozen BearCats were deployed by multiple state, local, and regional agencies at the Boston Marathon scene, including one that took part in the final dramatic scene in which the BearCat climbed a 24-inch retaining wall and then used a hydraulic battering ram on the vehicle to remove the tarp covering the boat in which the suspect had been hiding.

During the bombing incident the armored vehicles served multiple purposes, from overwatch and cover during the door to door search, to transporting large numbers of officers. The vehicles’ features and interoperability made them especially useful in the densely populated multi-agency scene manned by different groups and equipment. At numerous debriefings and discussions after the incident, the desirability of having tactical armored vehicles available was stressed time and again, and their features called absolutely essential to today’s law enforcement.

Tactical Armored Vehicles Provides Hard Cover And Fast And Efficient Officer Transportation

Used over the last decade for SWAT operations, including executing search warrants on high risk individuals, drug raids, barricaded gunmen callouts, and hostage rescue, the BearCat provides a much greater level of protection than tactical shields and offers a very large area of hard cover. These features are a big part of the reason they were used so successfully at the Boston Marathon incident.

For example, the Massachusetts State Police was called in after the initial shooting in Watertown, arriving at 3 a.m. Trooper John Suyemoto explains that the State Police used one of its three BearCats as its base of operations during the daylong area search around the vehicle abandoned by the fleeing suspect. The BearCat also served as the delivery platform to investigate a series of civilian call-ins about people matching the suspect’s description.

“We spent the day responding to more than ten different calls around Watertown and Cambridge,” said Trooper Suyemoto. “We cleared out large office buildings and even responded to a report of another suicide bomber. The truck was helpful for handling these types of situations, where we had incomplete or incorrect information that must be investigated before it can be discounted. The BearCat allowed us to observe situations in general safety inside the truck.”

The BearCat was also used as part of the 27-person Nashua, NH Police Department’s Special Reaction Team, which was called in to assist with a door-to-door search in the Watertown Mall area. Linking up with the 50-person North Eastern Massachusetts Law Enforcement Council (NEMLEC) SWAT team, Sergeant Joseph Fay’s team provided backup, along with units from other nearby County agencies. The area was broken up into quadrants and zones and each team was assigned certain areas to clear.

Sergeant Fay explains that the BearCat was invaluable during the incident, providing better hard cover than shields in the event they had to engage with a suspect. It was also excellent for transporting large numbers of SWAT officers.

Some were inside and many others were loaded on the outside rails, which let us quickly transport large numbers to any location and deploy quickly.

The daylong search for suspects over an entire city block area was an unusual call out because it involved such a large geographical area, and Fay noted how the availability of the BearCat armored vehicles allowed a key change in tactics.

During the mission we pushed the BearCat down the center to provide overwatch and cover while officers went door to door.

He explains that in a mobile operation, you are constantly moving and must provide cover for the exposed team members. There is no other way to do that without a vehicle, because the operation constantly changes location. In a more traditional operation, snipers and marksmen provide that kind of cover, but in this situation the event was moving, so officers lost the ability to deploy a sniper in a single area.

“Looking back on the situation, I feel that the presence of the BearCat was the only way to address this rolling situation. It is the only piece of equipment that can provide such a large area of hard cover,” said Fay.

He notes that the vehicle did what it was supposed to, offering shooting ports, with turrets providing overwatch. In addition the hydraulic ramming arm shielded the team, allowing officers to work the mechanical ram from behind cover to avoid injury.

According to State Trooper Suyemoto, the BearCat’s battering ram played a crucial role in the successful end to the operation. He explains that in the late afternoon, shortly after authorities allowed people to move around the area, a homeowner discovered that his boat had been compromised. He called 911 and the police deployed to that residence.

Trooper Suyemoto picks up the story.

We were at the command post on Arsenal Street and drove over, getting down in the area of the truck’s maneuverable G3 platform. Then, upon confirmation by a helicopter with thermal imaging that the subject was inside the boat, we mounted the 15-foot hydraulic ram arm on the front of the truck; thankfully, mounting the arm is a relatively quick and easy operation. We drove the truck up to the boat, which was difficult because we had to mount a 24-inch high stone wall. Luckily, the BearCat was up to the task. It took a couple of attempts, but we reached the top of the wall and drove up the lawn. We got the truck positioned properly, and proceeded to remove the tarp covering the boat by moving the arm back and forth down the length of the boat to punch holes in the shrink wrap. We could then remove it and see inside. I can tell you that it felt very good to be in a safe position within that armored car. There is very little someone armed with a regular rifle or handgun could do to us with the cover provided by the BearCat.

Mission-Critical Interior And Exterior Features And Options Promote Interoperability, Crew Safety And Comfort

Tactical armored vehicles are typically built on heavy-duty commercial truck chassis, fitted with NIJ IV rifle-resistant armor and a four-wheel drive system. They carry up to twelve people. Armor may vary among vehicles, but the BearCat is always built with Mil-Spec steel armor plate certified to defeat multi-hit attacks from 7.62 AP/.50 Cal BMG rounds. Ceilings and floors provide enhanced blast and fragmentation protection and ballistic glass windows also offer multi-hit defeat.

The vehicles come in 2- and 4-door variants; IED blast seats are also available. They feature a 360° rotating zero gravity roof hatch and an optional armored cupola for added ballistic protection. Dual rear-mounted air conditioning and heat ensures crew comfort, and a custom center console and computer equipment designed to fleet and central command specifications guarantees interoperability. Kevlar ballistic skip round shields protect downed personnel during officer rescue missions. The ballistic blankets can also be used as stretchers.

Scores of other options can be used to tailor the vehicle to particular needs, including a front and rear strobe, siren/PA system, back up camera, on-board contained air, and long range acoustic device (LRAD) for crowd control. Says MA State Trooper Suyemoto, “The LRAD and the thermal camera with pan and zoom capability mounted over the driver’s head were absolutely invaluable features. We spent the day going on calls and the LRAD and camera system made an extremely safe platform in which to work, especially considering the evolving, fluid situation.”

Mission-specific equipment is available for SWAT, medical evacuation, bomb technicians, anti-riot, and dignitary and VIP transportation. The newest options, designed especially for barricaded gunmen callouts, include the hydraulic RAM bar that extends 17 feet and elevates 12 feet. As mentioned, the hydraulic ramming arm was definitely an instrumental piece of equipment at the Boston Marathon incident. Another newer option, the Lenco gas injector unit (GIU) can be mounted at the end of the arm; chemical munitions can be deployed through a perforated spike controlled by a switch on the vehicle’s center console at a safe distance from the suspect.

Civilian And Officer Protection A Key Benefit Of Armored Vehicles

Armored vehicles are an equipment extension for ballistic shields used for entries into homes and for officer protection.

“We want the least amount of damage possible to people,” said an officer from the Boston Police Department’s mobile operations patrol (MOP), who asked not to be identified. “Tactical armored vehicles like the BearCat are made to withstand small arms fire and small explosives to get wounded officers or civilians out of an area safely.”

The officer explained that the BPD deployed two armored vehicles during the incident. Armored vehicles like the BearCat protect access and egress of officers who go in as part of rescue parties, or allow officers to safely enter a scene – delivering the team safely to and from a location is one of their key missions. In Boston, the BearCat is typically used for securing an area, or where there are unknowns. The armored vehicle provides cover and concealment from armed felons and is most often used for warrant services.

Aside from the high visibility Boston Marathon bombing and its aftermath, armored vehicles have already won an important part in many law enforcement agency arsenals. Take the case of Pittsfield, MA, where the armored vehicle has quickly become a part of the tactics used in all city pre-planned or other high risk drug operations, barricaded subject calls, and in support of protective details.

According to Michael Wynn, Pittsfield Police Chief, the city frequently puts the armored vehicles in close proximity to the venue as a mobile bunker. This means, instead of using evacuate and flee tactics, they can evacuate and lock down, and then move out under cover. They may park the vehicle and put a tent over it to conceal it and then use it if necessary.

“The BearCat is as quiet as a truck, and we use it almost any time we go on a raid. We would rather have it and not need it than have to call back for it,” said Wynn. “We can drive into a hot zone and we can conduct an officer rescue and it adds a whole new dimension when the team can approach a target.” The team’s capabilities have been greatly increased by the ability to ram a door and introduce gas without gunfire. “Also, you can’t underestimate the “Wow” factor – recently we simply had to drive up to a suspect’s front lawn and announce that he was surrounded. He took one look at the vehicle and surrendered. Minimizing the risk to the team by not having to execute cannot be overstated.”

Team Training A Must For Use Of Tactical Armored Vehicles

Many of the officers present at the Boston Marathon scene focused on the importance of team training on the use and limitations of armored vehicles prior to putting the vehicles in service. In addition, they emphasized that training should incorporate EMS and EODs (explosive ordnance divisions) so that all parties can work together.

“Everyone has to be able to work as a team,” said the BPD officer. “Each component is a building block and each officer must know what these vehicles can and cannot do and how they can and cannot be used.”

For example, BPD incorporated training on tactical armored vehicles during Urban Shield Boston, a continuous 24-hour exercise, during which first responders were deployed to and rotated through various training scenarios. This is the largest exercise ever conducted in Boston, involving more than 600 emergency responders from 50 agencies.

In the opinion of the BPD officer, other than a full armored vehicle like a tank (which most law enforcement officials do not think would be accepted in most U.S. cities), a tactical armored vehicle like the BearCat will provide law enforcement with the greatest help to get in and solve a problem. “In my view, it is better safe than sorry. We need a vehicle like this for aiding and assisting officers. They are not tanks and are not going to block explosions or solve all the problems, but they are a huge help for aiding and assisting officers on the scene.”

Tactical Armored Vehicles Provide Peace Of Mind

Armored rescue vehicles provide a huge measure of peace of mind for officers who arrive on a scene and may not know exactly what they are getting into. They can aid and assist getting officers in and out, getting wounded parties in and out, or providing cover. They certainly proved their worth in one of the nation’s most serious terrorist incidents in recent memory, and are considered an essential piece of equipment to own by most law enforcement agencies around the U.S.

State Trooper Suyemoto sums up it up this way.

The BearCat did everything we asked it to do, including driving up and over a wall, and it performed very well. We pretty much used every piece of gear we got with it except for the gas injector. It provided a high level of safety to our guys and without it our next step would have been removing the shrink wrap on the boat by hand. Having an armored car made that potentially dangerous situation much safer. We don’t often get equipment that does what we want it to do, so when we do, we are happy to sing its praises.

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  1. It’s not just SWAT commanders…. I want one for Christmas, too. Going to see if the fiancee will put a big red bow on it out in the driveway for me.

  2. Lenco Bearcat: Making it Easier AND Safer for Law Enforcement to Violate Your Third and Fourth Amendment Rights™

    • These are weapons of war suitable for the battle field; not on our city streets under the control of what are supposed to be “Peace Officers”.

      These should be only utilized by our National Guard, specifically called out by the governor only during declared emergencies.

      So go ahead and tell me I’m wrong for say we are truly living in a Militarized Police State.

      • “Weapons of war” not for cops.

        Oh, really?

        Tell me why law enforcement officers should not have protection against 7.62 x 39 rounds?

        Now, unless you want to ban all AKs in this country and conviscate all 7.62 x 39, or assume this is some kind of utopia where bad things do not happen, this foolish feeding frenzy against cops having this kind of armored protection is just stupid grandstanding.

        Or would you prefer to let LEOs exposed to hostile fire simply be killed just because you have this paranoid delusion about them and are claiming that they should not have “weapons of war.”

        Would you prefer they throw out all their firearms and go back to carrying .38 special wheel guns?

        • You will never have any guaranteed protection from 7.62x39mm, if we did, we wouldn’t lose any soldiers in Afghanistan and Iraq to small arms fire. “Assault weapons” are RARELY encountered by cops, stop falling for this crazy liberal bullshit lie. Secondly, a deer rifle shooting a .30-06 will defeat any armour that stops a 7.62x39mm, so would a .300 win mag, or a .45-70 nitro load. Where does it stop? Total immunity against all threats is a fucking pipe dream, and a slippery slope when we’re talking about LAW ENFORCEMENT. You want to give police the ability to meet the military in terms of armament, by pretending they face the same threats as the military (when they don’t) and have nothing wrong with this? Perhaps if SWAT teams were being used as the last resort rather than the initial contact you could have a point. But they aren’t. And with more and more constitutional violations occurring it seems like politicians want their leverage to be armed to the teeth to take on the armed populace they cannot disarm with pieces of paper, not cartels. Sick and tired of hearing about how all this crap is needed to fight the war on drugs when it hasn’t even DENTED their operations. We the people give up our rights and security for a load of bullshit that will NEVER be scaled back. Understand THAT is the issue at hand.
          Cops are CIVILIANS, they are not excluded or above the law, they have to operate in the same parameters as the rest of us, but thanks to idiotic fear mongering politicians have grabbed an enormous chunk of power away from the citizens and started creating their own little armies. Look at NYPD and Mayor Bloomberg for a prime example. No one should feel safer knowing the government has absolute authority in their backyards. It’s not “cop hating”, it’s demanding government power be checked. The military is not legally allowed to operate on US soil thanks to posse comitatus laws, our government has been circumventing these laws under the paranoia of the “war on terror” and the bullshit “war on drugs” to make a military that is everything like the armed forces minus the name and extra expensive hardware like jets and submarines. How are you comfortable with this?

        • “Paranoid Delusion” “Stupid Grandstanding” Paul, don’t you know that once you stoop to ad-hominem attacks; you have already lost any standing in any debate.

          What I have found is that those that use ad-hominem attacks; like yourself; are using transference; you accuse me of what you are doing yourself. This is the tactics of a gun-grabber; because they base their thoughts on emotion; not logic. and since they can’t defend their position by logic, they attack instead, like you.

          You’re being “delusional”, because deep inside you know that the potential danger we face as a people are not from the lone gun nut with an AK-47; but the organized use of these weapons of war (and the people operating them) against the American citizen. You become “Stupid” in your “grandstanding” in defense of those that historically; have been the most dangerous to a free people.

          History and the Founding Fathers supports my concerns Paul; that can’t be denied. What I hope is that those concerns are never realized for that would be too horrible to imagine.

        • The police should have the same defensive measures civilians are allowed to have, and for exactly the same reasons: potential contact with armed criminals in a civilian environment. In my state, at least, it is illegal to have an armored vehicle without a special license.

        • Disarming cops and limiting them to whistles and radios is a good start. It will make America safer.

          Cops should be outgunned by citizens.

        • if police departments are going to call my rifles or pistols “weapons of war,” then i am going to call their unnecessary armored vehicles “weapons of war.”

        • I reload various pistol and rifle rounds, it’s obviously like most liberals you don’t know what you talking about. The 308 or 30 06 rounds and all of the big game hunting rifles have a lot more penetration power than the military rounds from the AK47 and AR15. Civilian semi automatic rifles such as the AK 47 or AR 15 are not “assault weapons” since they are not automatic fire weapons. What the rifle looks like is irrelevant.
          The more you make a police force look like military combat troops, the more they separate themselves from their from the public. The are suppose to be civilians like the rest of us, they are not military personnel.
          These guys are little boys trying to play army, a very dangerous game when they are suppose to be part to the community and not a military force.
          I don’t trust any police officer dressed for combat or their attitude as proven by the Boston Police terror squad illegally forcing people out of their homes after the bombing incident. When you train police officers to be aggressive like military troops and put them in their want to be combat outfits they will think they are above the law.

        • When the police tool up and ride in tanks it raises the ante quite a bit. Think about what that leads to.

      • LEO’s don’t need these ridiculous, and ridiculously expensive, toys to perform their duties. Certainly not every other speck-on-the-map, piddling little town doesn’t need one. Nashua, NH? Seriously? Roughly 32 square miles consisting of approximately 87,000 people, a place with a violent crime rate lower than that of the rest of New Hampshire, and far less than the national median (2.35 per 1,000 residents vs. national median of 3.9 per 1,000 residents). The pudgy patrolmen just want to climb macho mountain on the taxpayer dime with their asinine tacticool b.s. and their over the top vehicles of war.

        7.62 rounds? Name ONE cop who’s been shot by such in the last decade. Then go on to name enough to make it worth these massive expenditures on Urban Assault Vehicles for everyone. Can you even name ONE among these deaths that was even a member of a tactical unit? I can: Officer K9 Ape. Yup, that’s what you think it is: a friggin’ cop dog sent in to flush out a suspect, who was then killed by that same suspect. Ohhh if only he’d had his own little quarter million dollar doggie BearCat of his own! Then we wouldn’t have to go down to the puppy pound and pick out a new replacement Officer Ape for free.

        The same arguments the POTG make against so-called assault weapons bans, i.e., that they’re extremely rarely used by criminals, goes for cops, too. They’re extremely rarely used, so why structure major portions of the law enforcement strategy around remote scenarios? But hey, it’s not me talking, let’s look at the actual causes of death for on duty officers in 2013, shall we?

        9/11 related illness: 1
        Aircraft accident: 1
        Automobile accident: 25
        Boating accident: 1
        Bomb: 1
        Drowned: 2
        Duty related illness: 1
        Electrocuted: 1
        Fall: 4
        Fire: 1
        Gunfire: 30
        Gunfire (Accidental): 2
        Heart attack: 10
        Motorcycle accident: 4
        Stabbed: 2
        Struck by vehicle: 8
        Training accident: 2
        Vehicle pursuit: 4
        Vehicular assault: 5

        The vast majority of these on duty deaths are the result of accidents or illnesses and not deliberate attacks on the officers. Even those that are gunfire, go look them up and you’ll find that they’re typical traffic stops or responses to fairly routine events, not big sweeping anti-terrorist activity where they’re facing off against hordes of AK- and RPG-armed insurgents. Good freaking grief.

        Hell, with the greatest grouping of on duty deaths consisting of accidents as officers themselves operate motor vehicles of one sort or another, you’d think that the better way to spare their lives would be to TAKE AWAY their vehicles, not to give them MORE and BIGGER vehicles. Sheesh! Or at least get them some better training. Perhaps defensive driving courses conducted down at the local driver’s ed school?

        I don’t know who’s worse: the chunky WALRUS TEAM SIX buffoons in these ludicrous local tactical units, or the chubby hubby, suburbanite, wolverine wannabes who idolize them and rationalize their budget bloating, freedom snatching, existence.

        • “I don’t know who’s worse: the chunky WALRUS TEAM SIX buffoons in these ludicrous local tactical units, or the chubby hubby, suburbanite, wolverine wannabes who idolize them and rationalize their budget bloating, freedom snatching, existence.”

          Cut. Jib. Newsletter.

  3. My area police department (in a town of about 50,000) recently purchased one, as did another town of similar size 50 miles away. Each vehicle cost $300K, in spite of already having armored vehicles in each department.

    Then, last week, they had the gall to throw a fit to the city about not having enough taxpayer money to buy 21 new Glocks.

    I can count on three fingers how many times my city’s SWAT unit has been mobilized in the past five years–two of which were Lockdown of the Day™-worthy.

    • I can echo this comment and I live in a city of 30,000. We have mainly crack-fueled street crime and jaywalkers and yet our department recently picked up two tanks.

        • “Would you have a problem if it were tanks?”

          No, he wouldn’t. He’d just claim the Crips were getting RPGs.

          BTW, Paul, WTF is the functional difference? Wheels are OK, but if they have treads you’d agree it was a step too far?

        • Tanks have guns (and when I say guns I mean it in the more technical sense of a howitzer or other large bore explosive ordnance delivery system). Think 120mm.
          IFVs (Infantry Fighting Vehicles) like the Bradly may have small bore guns (25mm Bushmaster, 30mm, etc).
          APCs are usually unarmed except for MGs, though some have carried ATGMs like the TOW.

          Things like the BearCat are APCs, but usually minus the MGs (an M4 sticking out a window is NOT a Machine Gun, even if it has a “happy switch”).

          So, there’s a HUGE difference between a tank and a sub-APC type vehicle. Oh, and this bugs me: the BearCat is NOT a weapon of war that belongs on the battlefield. It would be toast so fast.

        • Unfortunately, I have no friggin clue. I’ll look it up. I know there was a recent story on it.

    • I dunno, I expect the real Army could’ve made good use of that kind of thing in Mogadishu, with the MG cupola attachment Could be wrong.

  4. So what’s it going to be 5 years from now? Every SWAT Commander wants an Abrams tank and a squadron of predator drones with hellfire missiles?

    The problem is that all of this is expensive to maintain — from the hardware to the “highly trained” teams. And the only way to justify the expense is to deploy on a regular basis. So you end up having SWAT teams with armored vehicles being used for things like domestic disputes, credit card fraud and tax delinquency.

  5. What a load of bull scat. I didn’t not realize the Boston search was such a success. Thought it was Keystone Cops on steroids.

    • ^^ This. In fact the circus theme kept running through my head every time I saw a load of these guys “tacta-deploying” from their various tacta-wagons”. Most were too over weight to get very far in their attempts to look tacticool in front of the media, which was out in force to record the whole spectacle.

    • A cop, armored car or not, didn’t find the bomber. And when they did go to the location, the armored vehicles did not keep people safe, because the LEOs let loose a large salvo of small arms fire. We saw a massive police effort empty buildings left and right, but these did not lead to the capture.

      I’ll lay it out clearly, since the issue seems non-obvious: Because the Constitution prevents the quartering of soldiers in citizen homes except during time of war, we’ve arranged it so that we take citizen money (taxes) and hand the soldiers enough money to purchase a nice home nearby. We call them police because the moniker ‘soldier’ has a constitutional taint when the guys are cruising your town with armored vehicles, full-auto weapons, and battle dress. There. Are you happy?

      I might ask “who controls the not-a-soldier army in your city?” You? Your neighbors? Nope. A small gaggle at the top. Since candidates for mayor never need to duke it out on the police issue, except with the “I know you want more cops but we can’t afford it….” line, you never get a say. The soldiers are quartered in peacetime, and you’re paying for the quarters.

    • I have seen situations where cops really did have a need for an armored vehicle.

      In a documentary on Brazilian BOPA (which is an urban warfare division of their military police, not a militarized version of their civil police) in the favelas of Rio de Janeiro. They literally, routinely ran up against such things as fabricated concrete obstacles covered by small arms fire. We’re talking literally an urban warfare scenario where the state has lost even nominal control over certain areas.

      Contrast with Boston, where police were searching in the wrong place for a single suspect who turned out to be unarmed. The residents along Laurel Street where police had their initial shootout with the suspects were in more danger from police gunfire than the police conducting the lockdown search ever were from the remaining suspect.

  6. Sadly, I stopped reading once I read the “from overwatch and cover during the door to door search” line.

    Such noble duty as to suspend the 4th Amendment and kick everyone out of their home while searching. /sarc.

    • Because, of course, it is much easier to knee-jerk react out of pure ignorance, as is going on here in abundance, rather than consider the fact that law enforcement officers do face heavily armed assailants.

      • Very rarely. And they were adequately armed to handle them without APCs and 50 caliber machine guns. Just admit you’re a statist who thinks it’s okay for the police to become a mirror of the military and circumvent posse comitatus laws.

      • To the extent the Boston Bombers were “heavily armed”, it was because they attacked a cop and stole his weapons. Soooo……..I’ll add on to my previous comment that since the majority of on duty cop deaths are motor vehicle accident related, maybe we should take away some vehicles and not give them more. In like manner, since that cop died and gave up his weapon to the terrorists, maybe the cops shouldn’t be so heavily armed in the first place, lest they end up facing the very weapons they themselves introduced to the streets.

        • The story goes, they killed a cop sitting in his cruiser, presumably to take his pistol. It was also reported that the T Bros only had one pistol during the big shoot out. Finally, the story goes that they never got the dead officers pistol because they couldn’t figure out how to release it from from the retention holster. So, let’s ask ourselves, who really endangered the people living in that neighborhood?

    • ^^ Exactly. To hell with the bill of rights….This one dangerous person has to be found so screw you and your being secure in your homes. We have a “job” to do.

  7. Any 4x guys know if those cats are running portal axles or just commercial truck axles. 24″ step up seemed slightly impressive for a vehicle that large, but a CJ or scout with the right gearing and 33s could do it just as easy.

  8. “Mission-Critical Interior And Exterior Features And Options Promote Interoperability”

    I effing hate tacticool language like this. It’s just a bunch of hyped up buzzwords meant to sound quasi-military. I hear this crap and instantly tune it out and ask the remove the person using it cease. I can’t stand it. Sometimes I amuse myself by asking them what exactly does something like the statement above mean. I usually get a blank stare because 9 times out of 10, they never thought about that and it takes them some time to figure out a response.

    • It’s “proposal-speak.” It’s a meaningless jumble of random words meant only to fill space without making any commitment.

  9. William Burke is right.
    I’m going to call BS on the civilians having bigger weapons than the police crap!
    People should read the 4th Amendment. It’s a pretty easy read.

  10. If every wannabe supercop is allowed to get a BearCat, then normal people should be able to legally obtain RPG-7s. It ain’t a fair fight if you can’t fight back.

    For the children.

    • Glad Im not the only one who noticed that they didnt mention RPGs in the article B)

      EDIT: Damnit what happened to the sunglasses face?

      • Because those lovely slab sides would open like a flower on the inside with an RPG hit. Maybe that’s why they all ride on the outside.

  11. The first thought that came to me, when I first saw the title picture, was “the American Gestapo has arrived.”

  12. As a taxpayer and supporter of the the 4th Amendment, I would like to see a whole lot less Lenco Bearcats across the nation. I’d also like to see a whole lot less SWAT call outs and less raids. Frankly, I want a smaller and less expensive government which respects the freedom of the individual. The proliferation of the Bearcat pushes our country in the opposite direction.

  13. All that breathless praise and they TURNED AND WENT THE WRONG FUCKING WAY in Boston. In the end it was a homeowner taking a smoke in his backyard who found the suspect in his boat. I used to think that police militarization was just some folks having too many toys or being jealous of their neighbor with said toys, but it’s obviously become a most unhealthy obsession in some circles.


  14. Chicago rolled out their Bearcat last Sunday in response to the LSD standoff. In hindsight it was probably a bit much but at the time it was assumed the guy was heavily armed.

    At least it was working unlike most other CPD vehicles.

      • Because freedom loving citizens would prefer policemen get killed in their patrol cars when confronted with AK wielding bad guys shooting at them with 7.62 x 39?

        Tell me more about these “freedom loving” people who don’t care about law enforcement safety.

        Add to the feeding frenzy.

        • And just how often do cops have to worry about bad guys shooting at them with AK47s? Happen a lot around your neighborhood? Once in a blue-moon would probably cover it – nation-wide.

          In the mean time, millions and millions of taxpayer dollars are going to be wasted on the purchase, maintenance, and operation of these rigs … all in the name of officer-safety? Oh, that’s right, “If it saves the life of just one officer …”

          This is bullshit, plain and simple! These rigs have no place on the streets of the U.S. They are a waste and they will be misused. Only a matter of time. See any of the pictures of the armor rolling down the streets in Egypt? Coming soon to a U.S. City near you! Oh, wait, it already happened – as the cops locked down most of a city while searching for a viscous, unarmed, teenage-aged terrorist. What a frigging sorry state of affairs …

        • “Tell me more about these “freedom loving” people who don’t care about law enforcement safety.”

          It’s not that nobody cares about law-enforcement safety, Paul. It’s that we think ordinary-citizen safety is more important. Y’know, kind of like that oath cops take while apparently crossing their fingers.

          Cops put cops first. That’s a fact. So don’t get offended when we put us first.

          Now, could you please point me to just one of the many negligent shootings of innocent ordinary civilians by law enforcement in which the LEO or his commanding agency uttered a single word of genuine regret free of mitigating bullshit about “officer safety” and the like.

          “Add to the feeding frenzy.”

          You know what adds to the feeding frenzy, Ace? When cops bust down people’s doors and start shooting innocent people in their beds because they were too chickenshit to knock and too lackadaisical to triple-check a fucking address.

        • “Law enforcement” is usually detrimental to the safety of citizens. “Officer safety” should always take a backseat to the rights of citizens. Better a dead cop than any citizen have any rights abridged.

  15. “During the bombing incident the armored vehicles served multiple purposes, from overwatch and cover during the door to door search…”

    Yeah, let’s not forget that iconic photo of the guy in the turret aiming his rifle at the person on the second floor of a home who was filming him and his companions as they ordered people out of the home across the street.

    Good times…

    • EXACTLY the picture I think of when I see this..Don’t point a firearm at anything you don’t intend to destroy! I thought they were supposed to protect the citizens. Guess I was wrong 🙁

  16. Some of you might enjoy John Whiteheads blog at and the article The Second Amendment: ASymbol of Freedom or An Invitation to Violence. If anyone is more ambitious try his book A Government of Wolves: The Emerging American Police State. “a nation of sheep will beget a government of wolves.”–Edward R. Murrow

  17. Growing up in the cold war, I was raised believing only socialist despots, tin can tyrants, and the Belfast police used such vehicles for local law enforcement… And I still do.

  18. While its reasonable to be concerned about these machines being used to come for your guns, consider that real violent criminals are getting more and more brazen, and it only makes sense for the police to have the best tools for the job. If you or someone you love is wearing that uniform and tasked with capturing a violent criminal, would you want them in a Bearcat or a Prius?

    • Shhhhhh…you are interjecting reality into this discussion.

      You are only supposed to decry the police using armored vehicles if you truly love the US Constitution, dontha’ know.

      • What reality? The paranoid delusion espoused by statist whackjobs? Statistics aren’t on your side so stop pretending cops all experience the crazy bullshit you see on CSI Miami or other cop dramas. Stop making up bullshit. The only machine guns used in crimes as of late were supplied by “law enforcement” and used against people who actually face down threats on the border, not some idiot sheriff from a Northern State using their new military hardware as a show of force against the 2A supporters refusing to turn in their guns after unconstitutional ex-post-facto laws are passed making them “criminals”. You silly statists fail to understand that the government has failed to protect us anyway, why should I or any one else give up our liberty and rights to self-defense for more hollow, empty promises? Because the cops are suddenly backed up by 50 caliber machine guns and APCs I helped pay for? Fuck that

    • Is that really so? Are more criminals using full-auto weapons, AP rounds, and suchlike and attacking policemen? Do you have any statistical, or even anecdotal, evidence of that, or is it just a general impression? (That was a real question) BTW, are you as comforted as I was by that biz about “tanks probably wouldn’t be accepted in US cities”? (Admittedly, that is a rhetorical question)

    • Criminals getting more brazen? Oh, I’m not so sure of that. Dillinger, Bonnie and Clyde, and their whole generation of criminals used full-auto Thompson machine guns and BARs – and they were not slow in using them. Some of the shoot-outs are legendary. Cops back then didn’t even have body armor. I don’t buy the line that current criminals are any more brazen or vicious. Full-auto in U.S. criminal hands is rare these days.

      • Well, I would note that the famous Texas Ranger “Lone Wolf” Gonzaullas employed a juiced-up vehicle against his Prohibition-era criminal foes. It was a jeep with a tommy gun swivel-monted on the hood or fender…

      • People try to pretend body armour is some magical invincibility cloak and only the most evil, hellforged, demonic black magic sorcery can triumph over the holy and pure kevlar. The reality is rifles will always defeat it, a shot to the head is almost always fatal, and there are no guarantees when you charge into a building, no matter what you have on or what the bad guys are wielding against you. It’s NOT WORTH sacrificing our liberty (and tax dollars) for this tiny bit more “protection”. Just wait til some clown opens fire in a neighbourhood with one of those M2s…

        • Well, “Nighthawk,” first kudos on the personal integrity and bravery you demonstrate by posting with a real name. That says volumes for all your “tough talk.”

          Second, I’d invite you to talk to a friend of mine who took a 7.62 x 39 round directly into the Level III+ plate he was wearing, shattering it, but saving his life.

          Or better yet, how about you let us know when you are willing to take any size caliber round to the chest without wearing body armor. Be sure to YouTube it and also let us know which funeral home to send flowers to.

    • I think would have been the typical reaction if this hadn’t come after a long line of towns like Lake George, NY getting MRAPS. Vehicles like this (and SWAT teams themselves) keep getting deployed to cities and towns in which the crime isn’t brazen at all, and that raises everyone’s red flags. If this were simply, say, Compton or Camden, it wouldn’t raise an eyebrow.

  19. Caught the liveleak vid. Quite effective. I wonder how the air conditioner intakes work when the vehicle is on fire? Multiple rails on the sides for transporting groups of troops,.. Er, uh cops. I wonder how that works with flaming cocktails raining down. Jus sayin’.

  20. What was Obama saying about a civilian force to rival the military? Looks like he has the foundation already. Can’t help but be reminded of the Waffen SS.

      • I’m surprised it took 45 minutes for someone to see the parallel–a technically “civilian” force with military capabilities directly responsible, not to the military high command, but to the politicos. That’s just history, you can wail all you want to about Godwin’s Law.

      • Oh, and BTW, my understanding of Godwin’s law is that the first “side” to invoke Nazi imagery has “lost” the “debate”–so I guess you can just declare yourself the winner and go home now, huh?

      • I’m surprised it took you as long as three minutes to evade countering someone’s point and instead make a cheap play to discredit his legitimate observation by invoking that old “Godwin” shibboleth.

        • I said it about two posts up–a militarized body that is outside of the regular military chain of command, originally conceived as a part of the domestic, rather than foreign affairs, portion of the government, originally beholden to the ruling party in the civilian government, not to the Department of Defense or its equivalent. Particularly in the case of Federal agencies like ATF, not to mention Social Security and the Agriculture Department (yes, they have paramilitary SWAT teams too). And no, they haven’t reached arms parity with the actual military, but the concern is that they are tending in that direction. And they wear coal-scuttle helmets, too. (Seriously, what is it with these guys wearing BDUs and such?)

  21. Other than food the most valued possession in the Warsaw ghettos was gasoline, which when poured into glass bottles made short work of German Panzer Mk IV tanks, armored cars and personnel carriers.

  22. I have no problem with citizen police having bearcats and AR’s. But I believe that citizen citizen’s should have access to the same toys. If not, Bad Cop, No Donut.

    • agreed.
      i don’t like putting limits on or interpreting the second amendment, but if i had to use something as a guidelines to what us citizen citizens should own it would be whatever my local pd can own. so now i want a new car/ tank.

      • That’s been my take on it. If it’s legal for cops it’s legal for us non cops. I will draw the line at military toys in the hands of citizens, whether they’re cop citizens or citizen citizen’s.

        I think every city should have 1 armored vehicle. Just 1. It should be reserved for truly dangerous scenarios like the north hollywood shootout. Some way to rescue people in the line of fire. A retired brinks truck would probably do for that.

        I believe no knock raids have to be curtailed to just absolutely proven dangerous and desperate people.

        Mayors, city councils and cheifs of police that support militarising cops need to be unemployed. Elections count.

        • Actually there was a retired Brink’s truck in one of the pictures. It was the vehicle that was driven to the site.

    • I’ve said it before, i’ll say it here: cops carry a gun for the same reason I do, essentially self-defense. For the most part, what will serve them should be available to serve me when they aren’t around. In fairness, sometimes their position gives them an obligation to go seeking trouble in a way that I don’t have to (eg I don’t have to take down a neighborhood crack house; I can just avoid it, but they may be required to serve warrants at one), so I can’t begrudge them having the necessary tools available. But those exceptions are not enough to justify the current and increasing level of militarization of civilian police agencies. Especially given that if they have the stuff they will find an excuse to use it, appropriate or not.

      • Declares Chris Mallory. The self appointed king of the internetz. when you’re talking to your cats do you address yourself as “We”?

  23. Look at all the targets hangin’ off the side…they may have the equipment and the tools, but they sure don’t know how to use or deploy them…

  24. Disgusting that ANY police department would think it needs one of these “to serve and protect” Disgusting.

    “I can tell you that it felt very good to be in a safe position within that armored car. There is very little someone armed with a regular rifle or handgun could do to us with the cover provided by the BearCat.”

    They have to get out and pee sometime.

    • If the cave dwelling ragheads can find ways to disable/destroy a Buffalo(MRAP), then I really don’t think these “Bearcats” pose too much of a problem…

  25. I’d prefer they not carry guns at all. Cops are janitors, nothing more. They come after the fact to clean up the mess, its rare for them to stop a crime in progress.

    Also consider that statistically the leading killer of cops is other vehicles. Guns and up armored vehicles should be their last worry.

    Finally the majority of weapon discharges by the police are negligent, miss their intended target, hit an innocent or innocents property, a dog or a fellow cop.

    The government and Paul T McCain would have you believe that your local PD, DHS, ATF, FBI, CIA, IRS etc need armored vehicles to protect them against the assault weapon toting criminals, but again statistics just don’t bear that out.

    And the Cato institute brings you this map of botched swat raids across the country.

    So yeah, cops don’t need APC’s and anyone who believes that, and tries to defend it, is a statist, or a complete loon.

    • Actually their main job is revenue collection. Why else do you think they support the War on (some) Drugs. Busting a guy for selling pot and taking his home and car is a lot safer than dealing with actual criminals.

  26. They rolled out one of these dudes in lowly Portland Maine recently.. it was kind of shocking to see that in a town of about 75k… they must be everywhere now!

  27. How and when will “law enforcement” justify crew served weapons to carry and mount on their APC’s. This article already mention firing ports. Are the police now going to lay down suppressive fire?… If someone throws a Molotov cocktail that will justify it. “In order to ensure officer safety against such area destructive bombs we have added M240 and M249 weapons to ensure we can deal with these terrorists safely.” I see it coming and with it the last illusion of “peace officers” going with it.

  28. I just came back from working out. Saw a young cop acquaintance of mine.(he’s a CTA Transit cop). I asked him if he’s looking forward to all the new concealed carriers in Illinois. He freaked out & told me I ruined his workout(LOL). Poor baby.

    • He’s a CTA Transit cop, not a real cop. Transit cops just put the trash on the street for the real cops to deal with.

    • Holy Shit! I hadn’t seen this. It is by far the most disgusting show of police murder to date. Because you know, a knife is a real threat from 30 feet.

      The fact that they toss a flash bang, shoot him with AR’s 4 times then proceed to pump 3 beenbags into him from 12 feet away while he is bleeding out Is absolutely inhuman.

      I hope these cops get the chair….fucking ass clowns. You could hear them freaking out about how non righteous the shoot was.

  29. So what purpose does it serve as officers form a perimeter and wait for a mass shooter to kill everyone inside the building and himself?

  30. I think maybe SWAT teams should implement a cutoff for how long an officer can try out for the team, and remain on a team. I also think the physical requirments for law enforcement should be more stringent. I’m tired of seeing cops who are obese and have issues getting in and out of their vehicle. As for the Bear Cat, seeing as federal law enforcement has offices in all 50 states, maybe they could have them and loan them out to local law enforcement in certain situations? And maybe there needs to be laws as to when a SWAT team can be used. I do however write this knowing that some major cities have roving swat teams, which is actually a decent idea

    • Why should Federal law enforcement have offices in all 50 states? The Constitution does not give the Federal government any police power. There are only 3 crimes mentioned in the Constitution with Federal jurisdiction: counterfeiting , piracy, and treason. There is the authorization for the military law and rules, but those only apply to members of the military.

  31. I’ve written more PR-centric proposal BS than I’d like to admit, and this stands out as completely amazing work.

    Taking the inept and pathetic actions of several groups of cowards refusing to do their job effectively, combining that with a completely purposeless overpriced vehicle with possibly illegal (by UN standards) options, and rolling them up into a puff piece like this just makes my eyes water.

    The level of craftsmanship in the writing is simply outstanding.

  32. The private citizen found the guy and the cops opened up with everything they had.

    These things are not meant for Command Posts, etc. They are meant to protect the cops.

    The cops in Boston swept the area and did not find the guy.

    Wait til they get .50 cals mounted on these things.

    • They are worthless in built up cities and in rural areas. Two story buildings, soft shoulders, ditches, downed trees and steeply angled slopes are all dangerous for these trucks.

  33. +1 Jus Bill. He was a “real”cop in Burnham,Illinois. More $,less gangbangers to deal with. I sure WOULDN’T trust him in civil insurrection. Or with a Bearcat.

    • Typical fascist police apologist playing the safety card to justify emboldened localized government-controlled military power that has no business existing in the first place. Go ahead and let us know the circumstances in which a cop actually needs this, and I’ll show you an example where the local cops need to call the National Guard.

  34. Exactly how is an unarmed street legal armored car “militarized”?

    Brinks trucks are basically the same thing, are they militarized too? Why is it OK to protect money with an armored truck but not people’s lives?

    This sort of BS is pure clown shoes.

  35. A light armored vehicle without mutual support or dismounted infantry support is properly described as a steel coffin. You can read this as I’m not impressed. The vehicle is imposing for sure, but it’s ill designed and not intended to take on dedicated ambushes. If one comes for you, you’re screwed. If you’re laying in wait for it, it’s screwed. Everything is a compromise and these compromise everything to the extreme. The armor is questionable, the speed and maneuverability is poor, it isn’t armed and it’s ill prepared for IEDs. In other words it’s optimized for situations in which it’s not needed and poorly equipped to deal with threats for which it might be reasonably called upon.

    I’d hate to have to deal with one; it requires better than 30 minutes of chainsaw work to immobilize for hours (or days if you leave a sniper) and at least 2 hours at the workbench to destroy. On the other hand it’s road limited and basically a puff piece more so than a serious weapon and deployed in small numbers.

    Surely an example of our over militarized police. Hardly a threat when there isn’t any longer a rule of law.

  36. Homeland Security (DHS & HSI) is now using similar vehicles and tactical equipment to go after people with PAPERWORK VIOLATIONS! Other police units have used similar techniques to go after an older lady for credit card problems. And Albuquerque police just executed a man for illegal camping… WTF? Over.

  37. Thanks Nighthawk. I thought I was the only one who believed the military could not operate off their reservations.

  38. I reload various pistol and rifle rounds, it’s obviously like most liberals you don’t know what you talking about. The 308 or 30 06 rounds and all of the big game hunting rifles have a lot more penetration power than the military rounds from the AK47 and AR15. Civilian semi automatic rifles such as the AK 47 or AR 15 are not “assault weapons” since they are not automatic fire weapons. What the rifle looks like is irrelevant.

  39. I wasn’t suprised at Ammoland publishing this thinly veiled ad for Lenco

    I howver was surprised to see TTAG reprint it.

    TTAG – I expect better of you!

  40. “Armor may vary among vehicles, but the BearCat is always built with Mil-Spec steel armor plate certified to defeat multi-hit attacks from 7.62 AP/.50 Cal BMG rounds. Ceilings and floors provide enhanced blast and fragmentation protection and ballistic glass windows also offer multi-hit defeat.”

    Yeah, but is it THERMITE proof?

    …It would probably turn into a pork roaster.


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