Saturday, June 20, 2020

Sheriff defends armored vehicle purchase, says it is ‘not a militarized vehicle’

From The Journal

A Bearcat G3, made by Lenco Armored Vehicles and used by the Ottawa Police Service, is pictured here. The Racine County Sheriff's Office has purchased its own Bearcat G3.

RACINE COUNTY — In the aftermath of George Floyd’s death, questions have come up about armorizing police.
The Racine County Sheriff’s Office recently purchased an armored vehicle for as much as $305,000.
It will replace an aging armored vehicle, purchased via military overstock, that is now used by the Sheriff’s Office.
Sheriff Christopher Schmaling defended the purchase of such an expensive vehicle during a Racine County Government Services Committee meeting on Tuesday.
Schmaling attested that the vehicle — a Bearcat G3 from Lenco Armored Vehicles that is entirely bulletproof, can carry up to a dozen people and is not equipped with any offensive weaponry — is necessary.
Burlington resident Susan Sheldon called into the virtual meeting to ask “Is it needed? And if so why?” She wondered if spending hundreds of thousands of dollar on a vehicle at a time when municipalities are so strapped for cash is “money well spent when we have so many other things that require our funds from our taxes.”
Up to $305,000 to purchase the vehicle was approved in the county’s 2020 budget, before discussions about the militarization of police ramped up amid the protests sparked by the death of Floyd on May 25 — an officer-involved killing that Schmaling called “sickening.”

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