This is amazing (emphasis mine):
Passaic County’s now ready to meet the War on Terror — or a more routine domestic hostage case — with 17,000 pounds of rolling steel, bullet-proof glass, and a machine gun turret.
Built more like a tank than a police car, the $400,000 BearCat is the latest addition to the county Sheriff’s Department S.W.A.T team.
Sheriff Jerry Speziale said the new BearCat replaces an old converted bread truck that the S.W.A.T team had been using in hostage situations. Speziale said there’s really no comparison between the two: The bread truck was customized slapdash, its thin metal walls easily pierced by a bullet and its windshield easily shattered.
Not so with the BearCat. Encased in steel and shatter-proof glass, the vehicle is strong enough to withstand a bomb blast and keep going.
The 1999 massacre at Columbine High School forever changed the idea of “readiness” among law enforcement. The BearCat is manufactured by Lenco Armored Vehicles of Pittsfield, Mass., and the county’s model was delivered to the Sheriff’s Department in mid-December. It was paid for with a $200,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and $195,000 in money seized by the county Prosecutor’s Office during drug raids, Speziale said.
- The BearCat is diesel-powered and can go up to 70 mph.
- It gets about 7 miles to the gallon of diesel fuel.
- It carries up to 12 S.W.A.T. (Special Weapons and Tactics) team members.
The vehicle’s link to national security aside, Speziale said the BearCat could be most useful in domestic hostage situations, which occur fairly frequently in Passaic County. In December, before the BearCat arrived, a Wanaque man barricaded himself in his home and threatened to start shooting. The S.W.A.T team responded in the converted — and vulnerable — bread truck. The man eventually surrendered without incident.
Speziale said the BearCat would have given the S.W.A.T. members many more options at the scene. With the vehicle, the S.W.A.T team can get inside a building quickly — which could make it easier to get at a gunman and free hostages. Capt. Scott Hockwitt, commander of the county S.W.A.T team, said the BearCat is powerful enough to plow through brick walls. “You’re not going to stop us,” he said.
Besides the strength of its hull and chassis, the vehicle’s compartment is airtight with its own oxygen supply that can last for up to 10 hours. That makes it useful for chemical, biological and nuclear events.
I suppose the Bearcat would be a useful asset in the zombie apocalypse too..