The value of an armored vehicle
The Sheriff’s Office has a new vehicle in its arsenal to serve and protect Oneida County residents, and those of surrounding counties. The Bearcat G3, according to the company website, was initially developed as a tactical armored vehicle for special operations units within the law enforcement community, “enabling law enforcement agencies nationwide to perform critical response and rescue operations.” Taking advantage of an available grant, the Oneida County Board voted late last year to purchase the Bearcat at a cost of $100,000.
By Grady Hartman
Oneida County Sheriff
“My hope is that we never have to use the armored vehicle except for training.” Sheriff Grady Hartman
The Oneida County Sheriff’s Office has received a new armored vehicle and the county Special Response Team has used it to respond to calls for assistance from other counties as well as for training. I know there were questions about why we purchased a new armored vehicle when we already owned one. The Sheriff’s Office had an opportunity to receive a $125,000 grant from Homeland Security. This was a one-time grant opportunity and it would not have been available to Oneida County in the future. The County Board had to decide if they wanted to spend $100,000 now to replace the vehicle, or wait five years (the projected replacement time period) and pay the full amount of the vehicle. We were able to sell the old vehicle to another county for $61,000. Again, it is difficult to project what the old armor vehicle would have been worth in five years. After weighing all of the pros and cons, it was decided that now was the time to update the vehicle.
Bearcat G3, manufactured by Lenco Armored Vehicles
Can reach a maximum highway speed of 85 mph with off road capabilities
Primary armed personnel carrier used in vital tactical roles
Produced with all Mil-Spec Steel Construction
Has an armor rating that can withstand .50 caliber bullets
All product information is password protected and available only to authorized law enforcement and government personnel.
The new vehicle offers many updates that improve officer safety. We cannot share a lot of information about the vehicle because this could create an officer safety issue as well. It is only used for high risk calls involving suspects with weapons that are not compliant. We use the vehicle for calls involving armed barricaded persons, felony warrant executions where we are aware the felon is armed and hostage rescues. We have used our armored vehicle an average of eight to ten times a year since we received the first one in 2005. Sometimes the presence of the vehicle is enough to deescalate the situation. Also, it allows us to use less force because we can get closer to the subject without having to use force so that we can negotiate with the person.
My hope is that we never have to use the armored vehicle except for training. But we continue to have calls involving armed suspects. This tool allows my deputies to keep the public and themselves safe while they are resolving these high risk calls. As the Sheriff and a former member of the Special response Team, I know over the past ten years the armored vehicle has saved lives and I believe this new vehicle will continue to do so. This purchase was a positive investment for the safety of all citizens of Oneida County.