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Ill. police train to use armored vehicle

The BearCat turned heads as it made it's way from Mass. to Ill.

By Huey Freeman

DECATUR, Ill. — The first time many civilians saw armored vehicles deployed by police officers was when news broadcasts showed them rolling onto streets in the Boston area after the April terrorist bombing. Coincidentally, the Decatur Police Department obtained a BearCat armored vehicle, the most popular model used by police nationwide, from its manufacturer in Massachusetts a few days prior to that attack.

The BearCat, a heavily fortified vehicle designed to carry 10 officers, is built from the cab and chassis of a Ford F-550 commercial-grade pickup truck. The engine, transmission and dashboard are all original Ford equipment. Other elements have been custom-built, including gun ports and a turret equipped with a revolving shield.

Decatur police plan to use the vehicle in various situations, including hostage negotiations, service of warrants involving dangerous suspects and scenarios involving barricaded suspects. During the response team’s first training session with the BearCat, team members affixed the breaching tool stored on the driver’s side to its front end to rehearse breaking down a suspect’s door or fence.

Full Story: Armored vehicle adds muscle to Decatur Police Department

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