With a price tag of $328,450, the Calaveras County Sheriff’s Office has added a new rescue vehicle to its fleet.
The all-terrain vehicle, a Lenco BearCat G3, can be used in assailant incidents, hostage situations, armed or violent suspect apprehensions and search and rescue missions.
“It allows sheriff’s deputies to enter dangerous situations to effectively bring about peaceful conclusions,” states a news release issued by the Sheriff’s Office. “Deputies will have an increased ability to de-escalate situations that could otherwise end up in one or more fatalities. Additionally, the rescue vehicle’s ballistic resistance allows deputies to rescue victims or hostages during ongoing violent incidents, enabling faster care for the injured, thus saving more lives.”
The model is built on heavy-duty commercial truck platforms, which allow repairs to be performed by the department’s mechanic, according to the Sheriff’s Office, reducing maintenance costs.
Utilized by numerous military and law enforcement agencies across the country, the BearCat holds 10 to 12 people, has a rotating turret mounted to its roof and features bulletproof glass that can withstand multi-hit attacks from a .50-caliber, high-powered firearm.
It’s also much smaller and faster than the Sheriff’s Office’s former armored carrier, a 1980s Mamba Armored Personnel Carrier that was transferred through the Department of Defense 1033 program from the United Nations in 2008, Calaveras County Sheriff Rick DiBasilio told the Enterprise in June of 2018.
Picked up in August, the Sheriff’s Office has already used the new BearCat for a “high risk” search warrant, Stark told the Enterprise Monday.
The vehicle’s four-wheel drive capabilities will allow law enforcement to access all areas of the county anytime of the year. Its tall tires will allow for high-water crossings during floods, and its internal trauma lights will assist medical staff, Stark said.
The Friends of the Calaveras Sheriff’s Office nonprofit donated $50,000 toward the purchase of the new vehicle, and the rest came out of the Sheriff’s Office budget. Stark emphasized that no General Funds were used to make the purchase.