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Armored Vehicle Flap
Armored Vehicle Purchase By Huntington Police Considered Waste By Some
February 25, 2014

C L I C K   T O   P L A Y
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (Dave Benton) -- Huntington's Police Department will soon have a brand new quarter million dollar armored vehicle.

It's called the LENCO Bearcat and will be used by the SWAT team during high-risk operations.

Huntington resident Courtenay Craig said it's a waste of taxpayers dollars.

"I think it's overkill," Craig said. "We're militarizing police forces all across the U.S. It's not in the best interest of the public. A lot of these places don't have anything better to do with the products they're producing, therefore, they put them off with the government to help local police forces, unnecessary."

Rod Pell with the Huntington Police Department said, however, said the new vehicle is "not designed to militarize the police department. It's for the SWAT team. This vehicle provides protection we need to prevent unnecessary injuries."

Charleston has the same kind of vehicle and recently used it during a hostage situation, to get neighbors out of harm's way and to negotiate with the suspect.

Huntington Mayor Steve Williams said it is another example of the Huntington Police Department identifying outside funding "to help achieve its mission of keeping our citizens safe without placing obligation on our general fund."

The $266,000 grant was awarded by the West Virginia Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety. The total cost of the vehicle is $279,130, leaving the police department to cover the remaining $13,130. That amount comes from drug forfeiture money.

A police department representative said the armored vehicle will not be just for Huntington. Surrounding communities in the region also will benefit from it.

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