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Grant Nets New Truck, Armored Vehicle for St. Louis County Police

The agency recently used money from the Department of Homeland Security to purchase two new vehicles worth a total of $600,000.

A grant from the Department of Homeland Security has allowed the St. Louis County Police Department to equip its Tactical Operations Unit with a new specialized equipment truck and an armored vehicle.

The two vehicles will help the unit’s SWAT team be able to respond more effectively and efficiently to various kinds of threats, from “active shooters” to a biological terrorist attack. Bureau of Patrol Support Commander Capt. John Belmar said the $240,000 equipment truck and $360,000 armored vehicle were paid for entirely by the grant, but the money was not easy to come by.

“We were pretty stoked about it,” he said. “It is a lot of hard work to not only apply for [the grant] but to be in the position to accept it.”

The role of local law enforcement changed drastically after 9/11 with the creation of the Department of Homeland Security and a slew of new mandates designed to help such agencies deal with possible terrorist threats.

Belmar explained that these mandates meant the acquisition of lot of new gear over the past decade, but the county lacked a mobile home for all these items. The equipment truck was manufactured by Farber Specialty Vehicles and is designed to be exactly that.

“It gives us the ability to have 100 percent of our equipment with us if we were to encounter an active shooter, mass casualty event or even a chemical, biological or nuclear event,” he said.

The equipment covers a wide range of tools, including robots of various sizes, breathing apparatus, protective suits and instruments for the county’s “cut team.” It also can serve as staging center during emergencies.

“We can have it where the tactical operations team is, so we have a very small command post within the truck,” Belmar said. “It really gives us the ability to satisfy the mandate to respond as effectively as possible.”

The second vehicle is a “Bearcat” armored truck that has a unique feature. Attached to the roof of the plated body is a platform that can be elevated up to 17 feet, something that Belmar said no other law enforcement agency in the Midwest has right now.

“It allows us to put officers on the second floor of a building immediately, and we can get inside the fuselage of an airliner,” he said. “If we don’t have something like this, it’s going to make a bad day worse.”

The tough truck is capable of withstanding impacts from a .50 caliber machine gun and will be considered a regional asset, available for use by the St. Louis SWAT team and other agencies if necessary.

joe November 28, 2012 at 01:09 PM
what a freakin waste of money.
Eric Holm November 28, 2012 at 01:40 PM
Good deal. We need these to modernizee the county.
FedUpVet November 28, 2012 at 03:04 PM
I was assigned to this team for three years in the early 1990's. We couldn't even dream of equipment like this back then. It will bring a new level of safety to officers that put their lives at extreme risk during special tactical operations and could even mean less police shootings involving suspects during hostage situations that happen more than most people know. Besides, the money's better put to use here than some wasteful politician's pet project.
Frank Johnson November 28, 2012 at 04:40 PM
I've reported on a lot of stories over the years where police agencies have received new equipment/training from homeland security grants. It's been vital to helping cover gaps at a time when city governments were cutting back. I wonder if these grants will be decreased as part of the defense cuts that are bound to be part of any budget deal.
Dan H. November 29, 2012 at 11:36 PM
More Federalizing of local police. Be careful what you ask for. And, they are not "helping" LE, its by design. At a time when legislators are trying everything to restrict citizens' rights on guns, the militarization of the police marches on. I don't even own a gun but I understand the purpose of the 2nd amendment. Of course, I may be ignorant, I've never been in an active shooter situation, directly or indirectly, or know anyone who has, but if the govt is warning me of the dangers of terrorism on a daily basis, I guess I should heed. I should give up my money and liberties, for the cause. And if you point that vehicle at me, and tell me its purpose is to protect my rights, I guess I'll have to believe you, won't I. 50cal. on the city streets...wonderful. Safety first children.!
RDBet November 30, 2012 at 02:32 AM
Don't forget about the directions for the UN takeoever on the back of all the street signs. And the FEMA detention camps in National Forestlands. And the ....
Robert M October 29, 2013 at 11:24 PM
Fedupvet says "Besides, the money's better put to use here than some wasteful politician's pet project. " Idiot. THIS IS SOME WASTEFUL POLITICIAN'S PET PROJECT!!! Go look into the MIC company that owns Farber Specialty Vehicles, who manufactured these, and you will no doubt see their money going into intense lobbying that allowed tax money be spent on these Imperial Cruisers for our friendly local police state.

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