Bring Out the Tank: CA SWAT Get a BearCat Armored Vehicle

California police officers in Orange County got a new toy to play with: a Lenco armored BearCat response and rescue vehicle.

This massive 19,000 lb, $268,000 tank of a vehicle can withstand bullets from AR-15 or M-16 fire, and it can handle .50-caliber bullets fired repeatedly to the exact same spot. Bad guys trying to stop a BearCat may as well throw bullets at the vehicle by hand for all the good it will do.

If you’re wondering what that bulky thing on the top of the vehicle is, it’s a rotating armored turret equipped with a long rifle so that operators inside the BearCat can provide uninterrupted cover fire for SWAT members on the outside. Accessing the turret requires thumb print recognition. The BearCat also comes equipped with bolt cutters, crowbars, a portable stretcher, and a CD player just in case the officers feel like playing Ride of the Valkyries.

Westminster police Lt. Dan Schoonmaker said, “If it rolls up to your house, you know we mean business.” We’re pretty sure that’s PC police talk for “we absolutely love this thing.”

Orange Country police got to test drive the BearCat on May 3 when a dozen SWAT officers used it during a high-risk operation to apprehend (and scare the pants off of) a person wanted for assault with a deadly weapon.

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