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Oklahoma News

Norman City Council Reconsidering Purchase Of 'Bearcat' Armored Vehicle

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The Norman Police Department is interested in buying a 20-foot-long, 17,000-pound armored vehicle.

It's called the Bearcat, which stands for "ballistic engineered armored response counter attack truck," but city says it expects to use it primarily during natural disasters.

Police spokeswoman Sarah Jensen told a city panel Thursday it would be used for rescues during floods and after tornadoes. She also said the $300,000 vehicle could be used to ferry officers and medics into dangerous situations, The Journal Record’s Brian Brus reports:

The city’s finance committee was scheduled to discuss whether a Lenco Industries Bearcat could be purchased with forfeiture funds collected by the department. No action was expected other than a recommendation that the City Council allow police to go ahead with the order. . . . Opponents to the purchase proposal such as Normanite Steve Ellis said military-grade armored vehicles have no place in community policing because their appearance immediately escalates expectations of conflict and violence. Council members had considered the item a year earlier and tabled it after a similar outcry.

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