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CMPD gets new armored vehicle

WCNC | September 11, 2007

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Charlotte-Mecklenburg police introduced the newest member to its department on Friday.

It's called the BEAR, which stands for “Ballistically Engineered Armored Rescue & Response” vehicle.

The 27,000-pound vehicle will be used mainly by officers in SWAT situations, evacuations and other instances where armored response is needed.

The outside of the vehicle is designed to protect against .50 caliber weapons, the most dangerous type SWAT officers might encounter.

The BEAR can hold 14 people altogether, including the driver and front passenger.

It costs $305,000 and is paid for by last year's Urban Area Security Initiative Funds through the Department of Homeland Security.

The BEAR is a big improvement from the old vehicle the department had been using, which was donated by the Army.

That vehicle was smaller, could only hold seven people and was almost 20 years old.

"It's more friendly to operate. It has heating and air, which is important in some of these hot summer days like we've had recently,” said CMPD Captain Coerte Voorhes about the new addition. “And we think it'll be a more useful tool.”

The latest addition comes at a good time for the department -- SWAT officers have had to respond to 77 cases so far this year, compared to 70 last year.

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