Posted: March 27th, 2010 by Militant Libertarian
USA Canada Police State
Mili Note: make note that the reporter doesn’t even ask the fundamental question that should be asked: why, exactly, do they really, really need these machines and should they really have them to start with?
Numerous law-enforcement agencies across the country have recently acquired armoured vehicles for their tactical operations.
The Ottawa Police Service on Wednesday unveiled their BearCat — sort of like a Hummer on steroids. And RCMP in British Columbia announced this week that they had acquired two six-wheeled, all-terrain vehicles from the Canadian Forces.
Armoured vehicles are also in use in Toronto, Edmonton, Calgary, Victoria and several other municipalities.
Police forces say these bulletproof vehicles — none of which are equipped with any artillery — provide an extra layer of protection for officers when responding to dangerous situations, such as gun calls or high-risk search warrants.
Authorities say they also help protect the public in situations such as in hostage-takings.
“It’s certainly a comfort to be able to deal with the calls we go to using the protection of a vehicle like that,” said Ottawa Police Const. Jim Hutchins.
The Ottawa service purchased its Lenco BearCat for $341,147. The vehicle’s oversized tires allow it to go off-road and its height offers improved visibility, police said.
The vehicle will be used by the department’s tactical team, which responds to about 50 incidents each year and is tasked with protecting Canadian government buildings, embassies and consulates. The team also responds to incidents at the Ottawa International Airport.
Unlike Ottawa’s armoured vehicle, which was manufactured for police use, the B.C. RCMP’s armoured vehicles — known as TAV IIs and which can travel up to 120 km/h — were originally designed for military use and have since been retrofitted.
The vehicles, which were acquired free of charge, are necessary because of Metro Vancouver’s escalating gang violence, said RCMP spokesman Sgt. Peter Thiessen.
“Gang members are well-armed. Many times we have to be in a position to respond to that and ensure our safety as police officers,” he said. “We know what these individuals are capable of doing.”
Thiessen said an armoured vehicle was deployed earlier this week when officers went to execute a search warrant at a home in Surrey, B.C. The occupants in the home came out peacefully, he said.
Is it possible that the mere sight of the vehicle could make criminals think twice about engaging police?
“Visually, it is an aggressive looking piece of equipment,” Thiessen said. “It does look intimidating.”
Hat Tip: Dan C