Concord, NH, Cops Want Armored SWAT Vehicle to Combat "Free Staters" (And Others)

The New Hampshire Union Leader reports on the desire of Concord, NH, police to get all militaried up with Bearcat armored SWAT vehicles, paid for by the federal Department of Homeland Security, natch.

Excerpts:

Concord is poised to accept $258,000 in federal funding to buy an armored vehicle that police say would provide protection for officers and civilians alike during a terrorist attack, riot or shooting incident....

Concord's City Council will hold a public hearing on Aug. 12 about the proposed purchase of a BearCat G3 rescue vehicle, paid for entirely by a grant from the Department of Homeland Security.

The police department applied for the grant on behalf of the Central New Hampshire Special Operations Unit, which includes 20 local communities, Merrimack County Sheriff's Office and Plymouth State University. The SOU has an "early 80s-vintage" Peacekeeper armored vehicle, but it needs to be repaired "constantly," Concord Police Chief John Duval said.

Concord's City Council unanimously approved the grant application for a new BearCat last fall, according to Duval. But in the months since, some have raised concerns about just how and when such a vehicle would be used....

"Every year," Duval said, "police officers are lost in the line of duty protecting the rights of citizens. Tactical response units go into known lethal, hostile situations.

"And this vehicle is simply a vehicle to remove people who may be in harm's way, remove injured parties and bring police officers in closer."

The New Hampshire Civil Liberties Union [NHCLU] is concerned about over-militarized policing tactics, and for likely good reason:

In its grant application to DHS, the police department said New Hampshire's experience with terrorism "slants primarily towards the domestic type," and said "the threat is real and here."

"Groups such as the Sovereign Citizens, Free Staters and Occupy New Hampshire are active and present daily challenges," the application stated. In addition to organized groups, it cited "several homegrown clusters that are anti-government and pose problems for law enforcement agencies."

[Devon] Chaffee [of NHCLU] called that language "alarming."

"It's far from clear to us why an armored vehicle would be necessary to address what are generally, by and large, non-violent movements that in fact provide little or no threat to the security of our state," she said.

Since the BearCat is not directly filled with offensive weapons, the police characterize it as no different than a Kevlar vest, essentially.

[Lt. Mark] Sanclemente [of Manchester, NH, SWAT] said the vehicle has been used when police serve drug search warrants or respond to incidents involving weapons; it's also gone to surrounding towns when police request assistance....

Sanclemente noted that Manchester's BearCat also is parked in a "low-profile location" during political events such as presidential appearances. "It's nearby, it's not out so that everyone can see it, but it's still close if it's needed."

I'm sure it is! Local cops ridin' around in a Bearcat, Jim: these are different times.

Free Press publications has the actual application for the vehicle.

I wrote a big Reason feature on the Free State Project near its beginnings, back in 2004. Garrett Quinn revisited the topic for us in our June print magazine.

Reason on police desire to overmilitarize.

Former Reason reporter and editor Radley Balko's very important new book The Rise of the Warrior Cop.

Learn more about the Bearcat from its sellers. And Reason on the Bearcat's use in civilian policing.

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  • ||

    Every year," Duval said, "police officers are lost in the line of duty protecting the rights of citizens.

    Not enough..... not nearly enough

  • AlexInCT||

    She is going to be losing income now that they are baning pr0n in Britian.

  • thom||

    It seems like most on-duty fatalities are actually caused by: (1) a police officer actively trying to deprive a citizen of their rights; or (2) unsafe or reckless driving.

  • anon||

    I would really love to know how many police officers are lost per year due to "free stater's" though.

    Bet it's either zero or very very close to zero.

  • Hyperion||

    Yeah, but Free Staters, they are the really dangerous ones. Something about Libertarians...

  • AlexInCT||

    Respect my boot on your neck, you dirty peasant!

  • mad libertarian guy||

    I'd put that number at zero since the inception of the idea of a free stater.

  • anon||

    Yeah, it was mostly rhetorical.

    Saying "Cops die every year!" and somehow linking that to free staters is pretty much as deranged as you can get.

    Then again, if you can do those mental gymnastics you probably support a measure.

  • BakedPenguin||

    Cops do die every year.

    Almost all of them in traffic accidents.

  • anon||

    Yeah, I said that below pretty much; I was just saying linking them to free staters is deranged.

  • Duke||

    The only two people I have ever known who have accidentally discharged a weapon which caused injuries were both police officers. And both officers shot themselves in the hand while cleaning their pistols.

  • entropy||

    Other professions that die every year:

    Construction workers.
    Miners.
    Circus acrobats.
    Accountants.
    Actuaries.
    Plumbers...

  • AlexInCT||

    Darwin Award winners..

  • Irish||

    I would really love to know how many police officers are lost per year due to "free stater's" though.

    I'd love to know how many police officers are killed by criminals in New Hampshire.

    I found a New York Times article saying that 72 police officers were murdered in the entire country by criminals. Most of those are probably in bad neighborhoods.

    New Hampshire has a very small population and a low crime rate. In an average year, they might have 3 or 4 officer fatalities. Probably not even that.

  • anon||

    I bet some cops do die on the job, but it's more likely from training accidents or natural causes; or traffic accidents.

  • Irish||

    I found a New York Times article saying that 72 police officers were murdered in the entire country by criminals.

    The year this info was from was 2011.

  • anon||

    Dude, I found this: http://www.odmp.org/search/year

    The first page confirms pretty much what we both said: Most cops die either from some accident or another or work in prisons.

  • Irish||

    Aircraft accident: 1
    Automobile accident: 11
    Drowned: 2
    Fall: 2
    Fire: 1
    Gunfire: 19
    Heart attack: 8
    Motorcycle accident: 2
    Stabbed: 1
    Struck by vehicle: 4
    Training accident: 2
    Vehicle pursuit: 1
    Vehicular assault: 3

    23 out of 51 deaths were the result of criminals. Of course, that's assuming that every cop to die from gunfire was shot by a criminal and 0 were shot accidentally.

  • anon||

    Clicking on some of them also reveals that cops dying from being stabbed and shot are prison guards; which, to me, means they pretty much signed up for that shit.

  • Irish||

    Clicking on some of them also reveals that cops dying from being stabbed and shot are prison guards; which, to me, means they pretty much signed up for that shit.

    It also means that more military equipment outside of prisons is useless and insane.

  • SugarFree||

    I read through the gunfire deaths. Only two of them had any conceivable way of being avoided by the cops showing up in an armored vehicle. And both were situations not involving SWAT.

  • SugarFree||

    And two of them are dogs.

  • SugarFree||

    *ten* Damn typing.

  • anon||

    The real lesson here is that almost as many cops are killed by cars as are killed by guns.

    So we should ban cars.

    /state.

  • NeonCat||

    No one, outside of law enforcement, needs an assault car.

  • AlexInCT||

    Does self inflicted count as accidentally?

  • SugarFree||

    No suicides were listed.

  • The Last American Hero||

    Note how the gun deaths are described as "gunfire". The automotive deaths are broken out into 5 categories, which, in aggregate, exceed gunfire.

  • Steve G||

    I'm legitimately surprised at the low numbers of heart attacks

  • Zeb||

    I can think of 3 cops who have been killed in NH in the last 10 years or so. There may be more, but not many. One was shot by a crazy guy who used to hang out with Bodie Miller up north. One was shot in Manchester by a wanted criminal who is now NH's first death row convict in forever and one was shot by that crazy drug dealer guy a year or two ago. I don't think an armored vehicle would have helped any of them. Certainly not if it was parked in Concord.

  • anon||

    3 cops in 10 years, holy fuck! And NH hasn't declared martial law yet!?

    How can these cops possibly survive without tanks!?

    /sic

  • R C Dean||

    police officers are lost in the line of duty protecting the rights of citizens

    I'm sure some are, but you'd really have to do a breakdwon between those who are killed protecting the rights of citizens and those killed violating the rights of citizens or otherwise merely serving as enforcers for the State.

  • mad libertarian guy||

    To cop fellators, serving as an enforcer of the state is protecting people's rights.

  • Zeb||

    Their job isn't to protect the rights of citizens anyway. Their job is to service the courts and hopefully not violate too many rights along the way.

  • Libertymike||

    Actually, I contest the proposition that cops are actually killed while protecting the rights of others.

    Its a fable. A fairy tale. Let's see the evidence.

  • Zeb||

    I'm sure some cops have been at some point. But I'd agree that it is not reasonable to assume that simply because a cop dies on the job. As often as not, they seem to be killed while trying to deprive people of their rights.

  • CE||

    That Third Amendment, you didn't write that.

  • Free Society||

    Every year," Duval said, "police officers are lost in the line of duty protecting the rights of citizens.

    It's every citizen's right to have his home violently raided for having contraband plant material and the like.

  • Brett L||

    At least these guys realize who their actual enemies are.

  • mad libertarian guy||

    At least these guys realize who their actual enemies are.

    But if you're that afraid of an entire army of straw men, you probably shouldn't put yourselves on the front line of the battle.

  • Brett L||

    Oh, no. I'd say the Free Staters ARE the biggest threat to Concord PD's current way of life. They'd have to go back to being regular schmoes again.

  • I can't trust my fans||

    http://reason.com/blog/2013/07.....nt_3900570

    Doherty, where's my goddamn hat-tip, you fucking credit-thief?!?

  • Hyperion||

    Hat tips are no longer available, due to the fact that sarcasmic was hogging all of them.

  • GPZsug||

    Every year," Duval said, "police officers are lost in the line of duty protecting the rights of citizens

    Half of that sentence is correct.

  • Andrew S.||

    I really need to learn to control my rage when they refer to us prole non-cops as "citizens", as if officers reside in a higher state of being. Which, I mean, they do, given that laws don't apply to them, but still.

  • Zeb||

    It's a little better than "civilians", I think. But still a stupid wrong distinction. I'm pretty sure cops should be treating non-citizens the same as citizens in most contexts.

  • Steve G||

    concur. I don't mind being a 'citizen', but do chafe at 'civilian' and all that it implies..

  • Bill Dalasio||

    Actually, I'd be okay with distinguishing the police from citizens. Say no to police voting!

  • Anonymous Coward||

    "Every year," Duval said, "police officers are lost in the line of duty protecting the rights of citizens.

    Yes, New Hampshire is a warzone.

    Tactical response units go into known lethal, hostile situations.

    Some units do. But do any in New Hampshire? And are their enough of them to justify this tank on wheels?

    "Groups such as the Sovereign Citizens, Free Staters and Occupy New Hampshire are active and present daily challenges,"

    Challenges to the AUTHORITAH of the state must be taxing for these delicate little flowers. Little flowers, don't hide your beautiful bloom behind bulletproof glass and armor.

  • anon||

    Somehow, I just can't see Keene being a warzone, real nor imaginary.

    "Watch out! Those hipsters are trying to make us smoke pot!...?"

  • Zeb||

    Sometimes they go topless and drink beer in public too. Wild, dangerous stuff.

  • Hyperion||

    Yes, New Hampshire is a warzone

    Not yet, but they're hell bent on making it one. It's just warz, all the way down.

  • R C Dean||

    Tactical response units go into known lethal, hostile situations.

    Serving warrants, busting up poker games, you know, real gates-of-hell stuff.

  • Libertymike||

    Yeah, those police officers are really, really brave. They are fighting for our freedoms!

  • anon||

    . They are fighting for our freedoms!

    ftfy

  • PS wanders the Wasteland||

    Buy the Bearcats and the terrorists will come.

  • Hyperion||

    We're all the terrorists now.

  • anon||

    Just a side note: If the police need an armored vehicle to protect themselves from the citizens, shouldn't that really be a criticism of the police and not those they theoretically serve?

  • theheat||

    Yes, exactly! Is speaks more to the motives of the State than the citizens. Considering free-staters, such as myself, ascribe to non-aggression principles, it's really concerning they are naming us as justification for needing protection...

  • R C Dean||

    I'd love to read someday about a city that used fedbux to buy one of these, and then flipped it to some foreign country for ready cash.

  • anon||

    SOMALIA!!!!!1111one

  • Irish||

    "Groups such as the Sovereign Citizens, Free Staters and Occupy New Hampshire are active and present daily challenges," the application stated. In addition to organized groups, it cited "several homegrown clusters that are anti-government and pose problems for law enforcement agencies."

    On the bright side, they seem terrified of every single political ideology. They certainly aren't discriminating.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    "Groups such as the Sovereign Citizens, Free Staters and Occupy New Hampshire are active and present daily challenges," the application stated. In addition to organized groups, it cited "several homegrown clusters that are anti-government and pose problems for law enforcement agencies."

    The peasants are revolting!

    Fuck you, pig. I hope you choke on a donut.

  • itsnotmeitsyou||

    The peasants are revolting!

    The peasants have always been revolting... Now they're rebelling.

  • Wat Tyler||

    Going out on a limb here, but I think more cops have died while on duty from choking on a donut than have been killed by a Free Stater.

  • Tomcat1066||

    Grant application translated: We need to to protect and serve the living shit out of more people...until they bleed at the very least.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    I think it's safe to attribute every officer suicide to terroristic political threats.

  • anon||

    Safe? More like necessary.

  • Paul.||

    "Groups such as the Sovereign Citizens, Free Staters and Occupy New Hampshire are active and present daily challenges,"

    And how is the goon squad handling these "daily challenges" sans armored vehicles? It's a human tragedy!

  • ||

    Exactly - what with these 'daily challenges', surely the PD can easily point to several instances where an armored vehicle was/would be necessary to prevent these groups from burning down the state.

  • Gary T||

    If they had ANY articulable statistics, you can be sure they would have cited them.
    As it sits, they could only cite spin and hyperbole, and no substance.

  • fish||

    And how is the goon squad handling these "daily challenges" sans armored vehicles? It's a human tragedy!

    Well in Davis, California applying a little pepper spray...."dusting the roses"... if you will, followed by a disability claim for stress.

  • Paul.||

    Oh, and no one needs more than a 1/4" of armor on their vehicle.

  • The Last American Hero||

    BA and Face disagree.

  • Zeb||

    I would bet a lot that they never even would have thought about buying one of these things if the grants weren't available. It's more about getting their hands on whatever they can than any actual considerations of how useful or necessary it would be to have one.

  • Swiss Servator - past LTC(ret)||

    Somebody wants a new toy. And they just happen to be a police department.

  • Zeb||

    A large part of local government these days seems to be seeing how much free shit they can get out of state and federal government.

  • fish||

    Somebody wants a new toy. And they just happen to be a police department.

    Fuck that.....make em ride Segways! Let mockery ensue!

  • The Late P Brooks||

    If the cops said they wanted to be prepared to wage war on Code Pink and the Black Panthers, the grant application would be subject to additional scrutiny.

  • Lord Humungus||

    nothing that a shaped charged couldn't take care of...

    wait, am I on the list now?

  • Nazdrakke||

    /checks list

    Nah, dude, you were already there.

    /returns to monitoring

  • The Late P Brooks||

    they never even would have thought about buying one of these things if the grants weren't available.

    Dude, those guys in Boston have tanks! I saw it on the teevee!

    Why don't we have a tank? We definitely need one. Some right wing terrorist group might try to bomb the Maple Syrup Festival.

  • Shocked||

    More innocents will die from the use of these vehicles, than the number of cops or other innocents saved.

  • creech||

    Any group organized enough to present a real threat is going to whack this vehicle before it even leaves the motor pool.

  • Ken Shultz||

    You know a lot of criminals drive around in giant trucks and SUVs these days.

    What they need is an A-10 Warthog.

  • CE||

    250K? Couldn't they armor up an SUV for like 20K?

  • fish||

    Couldn't they armor up an SUV for like 20K?

    Yeah....but where's the "cool factor" in that? Nothing makes the chicks wet like the name Bearcat.....bearcat......bearcat!

    I should fucking write commercials.

  • wwhorton||

  • SteveC||

    If the Concord police will paint the FSP logo or at least "Sponsored by the FSP" on the Bearcat, maybe the FSP would contribute money towards it. Given the dramatic fall in violent crime over the past 30 years, and the rise in government debt, it seems inappropriate to pay for a Bearcat with federal funding borrowed from China.

  • Steve G||

    "The SOU has an "early 80s-vintage" Peacekeeper armored vehicle, but it needs to be repaired "constantly,""
    Newsflash chief, new technology doesn't necessarily resolve this problem. If anything, you probably trade frequency of repairs to cost of repairs.

  • Bill Dalasio||

    I don't know what's more disturbing, that the City of Concord New Hampshire is trying to get a tank. Or that they're just looking for a trade-in.

  • kingjurisdoctor@gmail.com||

    You are familiar with the Concord Cop shoot fiasco?
    http://christopher-king.blogsp.....at-in.html

  • kingjurisdoctor@gmail.com||

    You need to understand Kelly Ayotte and NH are poisonous on mortgages and the cops there shoot each other in the middle of the night where they have no business being.... it's all so rich. Watch the vids, read the docs.

    Ayotte dirty senator
    http://mortgagemovies.blogspot.....brate.html

    Cop shooting all cleared up
    http://christopher-king.blogsp.....at-in.html

  • A Mathematician||

    The NH constitution recognizes the right of it's citizens to have a revolution. This would have a chilling effect on that right.

  • kingjurisdoctor@gmail.com||

    As if they care? Thank goodness for the Redress & Grievances Committee though....

    NH Redress & Grievances videos (thank goodness for them)

    Going after AG Mike Delaney (Ayotte successor)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y1gpNZfGxpY

    Me testifying on mortgages
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pA-ai1JdSLo

    State Rep Kevin Avard and me on his talk show just search Kevin Avard + Christopher King
    Peace,

  • Gary T||

    I think a further factoid on that, is it is the only constitution in the world that recognizes its citizens' right to revolt.

  • Hoofddorp Haarlemmermeer||

    The Central NH Special Operations Unit is a 501C3 corporation formed by local police personnel to be a paramilitary police group. They have no authority to operate in an official capacity by any NH law but taxpayers in many towns are contributing to this group through budgetary line items.

  • Apocalyptic_Tourist||

    they can buy all the armored vehicles they want. A paintball gun will force them to dismount. easy peezy.

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