The new armoured rescue vehicle that was purchased by the Municipal Integrated Emergency Response Team (MIERT) is now in service and based in Abbotsford.
MIERT will use the vehicle, a Lenco BearCat G3, when it is deployed to any of the four cities that it covers: Abbotsford, Delta, Port Moody and New Westminster.
Const. Ian MacDonald said the Abbotsford Police Department is shouldering about 40 per cent of the $322,000 purchase price – amortized over five years – and ongoing expenses.
This is the same share the department pays for MIERT, and it is based on population and the size of the police budget, MacDonald said.
He said the BearCat will be based in Abbotsford because the local detachment is paying the biggest share and has the most space to store it.
The integrated emergency response team, which consists of officers from the four participating detachments, is deployed when officer and public safety is a concern during an incident that could involve weapons or other high-risk situations.
The armoured vehicle will be used to transport MIERT officers, and serve as a rescue vehicle to extract people from life-threatening environments.
MacDonald said the vehicle was needed.
“They (MIERT) were essentially driving (to incidents) in the same SUV you and I would drive, with no ballistic protection,” he said.
The BearCat can accommodate a 10-person team, has high ground clearance for off-road performance, and has “superior maneuverability,” according to the Lenco Armored Vehicles website.
Lenco is based in Pittsfield, Massachusetts and designs and manufactures armoured vehicles for police detachments and the military.
A BearCat was purchased last year by the Vancouver Police Department, and similar units are operating in Calgary, Edmonton and Ottawa.
RCMP in B.C. share two six-wheeled tactical armoured vehicles obtained from the Canadian Armed Forces.