Despite tight budgets at all levels of government, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is still giving local law enforcement agencies military vehicles. According to a report in The Huffington Post, a small town in New Hampshire was set to receive an armored personnel vehicle before one local resident launched a petition drive to block the acquisition.
The Keene, NH, police department was going to get its own Lenco BearCat, a vehicle the town's mayor reportedly described as a "tank." However, citizens in the town of 23,000 revolted, according to the article, with nearly 100 of them packing a city council meeting in opposition. Critics said the vehicle promoted violence, and cited a promotional video for the BearCat that shows gun-wielding cops using one of the armored trucks to knock down the door of a house and spray tear gas inside. The issue is scheduled to come up again at next month's meeting.
A $285,933 grant from DHS would pay for the eight-ton military truck. The Huffington Post cites a report from the Center for Investigative Reporting stating that $34 billion of similar grants have been issued since Sept. 11, 2001.
A Lenco spokesman criticized some of the citizens who spoke out against his firm's vehicle, calling them "crazy" and saying, "When a Lenco Bearcat shows up at a crime scene where a suicidal killer is holding hostages, it doesn't show up with a cannon. It shows up with a negotiator. Our trucks save lives," according to the article.
Click past the jump to watch the Lenco BearCat promotional video, featuring AC-DC's "Thunderstruck."