Contracts have long been signed. A quarter-million in public safety local income tax dollars has already been spent.
It’s inevitable, despite social media campaigns urging city officials to stop the purchase.
The Bloomington Police Department is getting a new armored truck for its Critical Incident Response Team, a specially trained group of officers that responds to high-risk calls involving firearms, such as hostage situations and standoffs.
Speaking during Tuesday’s noon lunch hour, police Chief Mike Diekhoff addressed concerned residents and answered questions about the department’s need and use for the Ford F-550 heavy-duty truck, which is outfitted with metal plating and bulletproof glass designed to stop high-powered rifle rounds. The civilian-grade armored vehicle, manufactured by Lenco Industries and called a BearCat, is in the process of being built to the police department’s specifications.
Diekhoff repeatedly stressed that the new BearCat will only be used as a CIRT response vehicle.
The armored truck will not be used at protests, he said.
“We’ve had a vehicle since 2000. We’ve had many protests since that time period, and we have never used our armored vehicle in any situation like that,” Diekhoff said during the hourlong discussion at police headquarters. “We are very cognizant of the perceptions of being militarized. And that is not what we are going to do. This is a response vehicle for emergencies and highrisk situations. This is all that it will be used for.”
The CIRT officers were dispatched to 19 incidents in 2017, and were dispatched 15 times in 2016. The department has been without an armored car since 2012, when its old Brinks bank truck became too unreliable to use and maintain.