N.C. police get new vehicle to fight crime

By Steve Lyttle
The Charlotte Observer

CHARLOTTE Charlotte-Mecklenburg police now have a BEAR to help them in standoff situations.

That's BEAR ... as in Ballistic Engineered Armored Response and Rescue unit.

It's a $300,000 armored vehicle that will offer protection and resources in dealing with standoffs. And the BEAR got its first action less than a week before it was put in official use.

"We had another armored vehicle previously, but that had only one way in and out," police Chief Darrel Stephens said. "That put our officers at a higher risk in situations where they might be fired upon."

The BEAR has five doors, including an access on the roof. It also is equipped with a variety of communications equipment and can serve as a headquarters vehicle at SWAT-type situations.

"This will give us more options in dealing with these potentially dangerous cases," Stephens said.

Tuesday, police put it to use.

Two robbery suspects barricaded themselves into a house in west Charlotte after a police pursuit. The BEAR was called in, with the SWAT unit. The suspects were taken into custody a short time later, with no injuries.

Copyright 2007 Charlotte Observer

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