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Milpitas: Council to review purchasing armored tactical vehicle on Aug. 15

Ian Bauer

The Mercury News

August 11, 2017

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The Milpitas City Council next Tuesday is scheduled to review a request by the city’s police force to purchase a more than $380,000 armored tactical vehicle to help fight crime in town.

In May, the council voted unanimously to approve a mid-year budget appropriations request to get a Lenco BearCat MedEvac and a structure to store it in. The Milpitas Police Department expected to acquire the armored tactical vehicle in order to aid its SWAT team during criminal incidents or other calamitous events.

According to Tuesday’s council agenda, which was released today (Aug. 10), the council would adopt a resolution and authorize the sole source purchase of the Lenco BearCat MedEvac emergency rescue vehicle for police for an amount not to exceed $382,308.51.

The council’s agenda further states the city’s purchasing agent determined that Lenco Industries Inc., based in Pittsfield, Mass., is the sole manufacturer of the MedEvac emergency rescue vehicle, which is the medical variant of the BearCat line of armored vehicles.

“After a review of existing similar vehicles, as well as training exercises and actual operations conducted with similar vehicles owned by other law enforcement agencies, the Milpitas Special Weapons and Tactics Team determined the BearCat MedEvac Emergency Rescue Vehicle best suits the Department’s need for an armored emergency rescue vehicle,” the agenda report reads.

According to the council agenda, after a nationally advertised solicitation/test conducted in September 2016, which was open to all commercial armored vehicle builders in the United States, armored vehicles by Lenco Industries Inc. were designated by the U.S. State Department as “Armor Level E,” the highest level of ballistic protection available for vehicles of this type/class.

Level E, according to the report, meets the following minimum ballistic requirements, meaning this armored vehicle has the ability to withstand gunfire:

•BMG 50 Cal. M33 Ball, 2700-2800 (feet per second), one shot with no particle penetration

•Armor ballistic resistance test- 50 Cal. M2 Ball- 5shots, 50 Cal. M33 Ball-5 shots (10 shots total), 2,800-2,900 (feet per second) with no particle penetration

•Fully Armored Hood

•Blast Resistant Floor material with military spec steel

•All exterior lights backed with military spec steel

•All doors and windows overlapped with .5 inch military spec steel, the council agenda states.

Also, the council agenda states jurisdictions surrounding Milpitas such as San Jose, Fremont, Santa Clara and Sunnyvale are also using Lenco vehicles.

“Having the same equipment in Milpitas will allow a smooth transition of personnel during emergency mutual aid situations and avoid confusion with operation of equipment thus reducing the danger to the lives of public safety personnel,” the agenda reads.

In May, Interim Police Chief Steve Pangelinan told the council the Lenco vehicle was needed based on what he believed would be an upward trend in crime in Milpitas, as the city’s population grows and as the Bay Area Rapid Transit line opens here, likely by next year.

“This is a vehicle that is armor-plated and it will enable us to insert our SWAT team and/or medical professionals into a ‘hot zone,’ where there is armed confrontation so that we can safely extract victims of a mass casualty event or an active shooting incident…and safely treat the victims quick,” Pangelinan told the council at its May 2 meeting.

Pangelinan said Milpitas’ SWAT team — typically used for hostage situations, barricaded armed suspects, high-risk search and arrest warrants or locating suspects known to be armed and violent — gets deployed an average of four times a year within city limits.

“And when we deploy them we will call our partners in the area to see if they have something available for us to borrow,” Pangelinan told the council in May. “There have been instances where we’ve not been able to use it because it’s not available anywhere.”

At that meeting, the council including Mayor Rich Tran believed the need for a better-equipped police force is real.

“We know what’s coming in our future and we’re going to do what the Boy Scouts of Troop 92 taught, which is to be prepared,” Tran said before voting on May 2. “These additions are going to save lives, it’s going to save many…I don’t have to think twice about supporting this item.”

The council meeting will be held at 7 p.m. Aug. 15 inside Milpitas City Hall’s Council Chambers, 455 E. Calaveras Blvd.

Read the full article here.

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