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Linn County, Ore., Sheriff's Office to Get Armored Vehicle, High-Tech Drone

"This will greatly enhance our SWAT team’s capacity to resolve issues," said Sheriff Jim Yon.

by Alex Paul, Albany Democrat-Herald / November 2, 2018
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(TNS) —  Linn County's commissioners on Tuesday approved accepting a $284,513 Emergency Management Homeland Security Grant to purchase an armored personnel vehicle.

In a written request to the commissioners, Sheriff Jim Yon noted, “Our world has changed in the last 10 years. A fire truck was attacked last week in Springfield. They took shotgun rounds to the cab while responding to an emergency call. We need to have equipment like this to protect ourselves and the public from that type of evil.”

Lenco Armored Vehicles has produced the BearCat, an acronym for Ballistic Engineered Armored Response Counter Attack Truck, since 2001. It weighs 17,550 pounds and is 12 feet long and 10 feet wide. The vehicle holds up to 12 people, including two crew members, and is powered by a 440-horsepower diesel engine mated to a Ford six-speed transmission.

Lenco builds its vehicles with military-spec steel armor plates that can withstand multi-hit attacks from everything from 7.62 mm to .50-caliber rounds. Founded in Massachusetts in 1981, the company has produced more than 6,000 vehicles at its 170,000-square-foot facility. Military and police and fire departments use them in more than 40 countries.

Yon said his office's repurposed armored vehicle is old and he’s not certain of its resistance to modern-day ammunition.

The new vehicle, Yon said, "is an armored personnel vehicle that can take a 50-caliber round. There are no matching funds (needed) for this grant. This will greatly enhance our SWAT team’s capacity to resolve issues. This vehicle will allow our operators to get close to a residence while protected inside this vehicle. We can deliver phones and different devices to communicate with barricaded subjects to resolve critical situations.”

The commissioners also approved accepting a $38,000 grant to purchase a high-quality unmanned aerial vehicle (drone), also from Homeland Security.

Yon said the unit features high-definition lenses and a FLIR heat-sensor unit and can fly in nearly any weather.

“It will be used by our search and rescue team,” Yon said.

Commissioners Roger Nyquist and Will Tucker were at the Tuesday meeting in person; Commissioner John Lindsey participated via telephone.

©2018 Albany Democrat-Herald, Ore. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.