Ballistic armored response vehicles to offer more protection to law enforcement personnel
by Chris Dillmann
Sun sailor Newspapers
A new vehicle has been unveiled by the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office as another line of defense to threats against public safety.
The BEAR, which stands for Ballistic Engineered Armored Response, vehicle is a large, armored rescue vehicle designed to help law enforcement during less-than ideal situations.
“In the Twin Cities and multi-state region there is no other vehicle like it,” said Sheriff Rich Stanek. “The BEAR is state of the art, and it will resolve high-risk incidents safely and more quickly, which is our goal as public safety officers.”
The vehicle will be used to transport SWAT or special response teams to emergent events involving armed offenders such as high-risk warrants, barricaded individuals or hostage situations, Stanek said.
Giving them another option for protection, Stanek says providing better resources for officers to do their jobs are what his vehicle will do.
“We can’t protect our personnel from every hazard, but we can offer them a higher level of protection and provide resources to do just that,” Stanek said.
Stanek says the sheriff’s office last year executed more than 7,000 felony arrest warrants, 69 of those high-risk warrants that required use of tactical and special operations teams.
The Bear was purchased with a $400,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. It will be available as a regional resource, meaning law enforcement across the county and upper Midwest has access to vehicle.
Stanek says it’s designed to be on the go.
“It’s not going to sit in a garage or parking lot at our station, it is active,” Stanek said.
Team leader with the Hennepin County Weapons of Mass Destruction Tactical Team and St. Anthony Police Officer Mike Huddle has been training with the vehicle and says it provides the latest in protection.
It has the capacity to hold a large number of occupants, and features 360 degrees military-grade armor, including the windows.
“The armor is the big bonus to this vehicle,” Huddle said. “The size and capacity of the vehicle allows us to deliver many more officers than other armored vehicles in the area.”
The tires are puncture resistant, better allowing it to get to areas other emergency vehicles cannot.
“It could evacuate victims from places ambulances or other vehicles might not be able to get to,” Huddle said.
With supplied air, it can respond to a variety of hazardous environments such as when chemical or biological agents have been used. It also has a roof hatch, a thermal and color imaging camera system for better tracking.
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