PARKERSBURG - Wood County commissioners unanimously accepted the sole bid for an armored vehicle that will be used by the Special Weapons and Tactics Team.
The vehicle is being paid for through a federal grant.
The county was awarded the grant last month, and notified the funds had to be expended before the end of this month or the grant funding would be lost. Bids were sought for the vehicle, but the commission was not scheduled to meet again until May 30. In a special session called Thursday to act on the bid, the commissioners unanimously accepted the sole bid from Lenco Armored Vehicles, Pittsfield, Mass., for $126,914
Photo by Pamela Brust
Wood County Chief Law Enforcement Deputy Shawn Graham met with county commissioners Thursday regarding the sole bid received for an armored vehicle for the Special Weapons and Tactics Team. The vehicle is being purchased with a federal grant.
"This vehicle will be a useful tool for S.W.A.T. A similar vehicle was used recently in Athens County, Ohio. Law enforcement officers were able to use the vehicle for cover during a shooting incident and there were no injuries or deaths," Shawn Graham said. The chief deputy referred to an Alexander Township, Ohio, man who was accused of trying to shoot nearly a dozen individuals on April 29 when he fired several weapons at police who had come to his home to serve a warrant. According to reports, he fired more than 15 rounds at the police. He is facing 23 felony charges.
"The grant funds will be used to purchase a 2002 refurbished BearCat, an armored response and rescue vehicle which provides .50-caliber armor protection. It can be used by the S.W.A.T. Team when they are called out, at an active scene to block a shooter. It provides protection in a variety of incidents; it's a large improvement over what we have now," Graham said.
"A Ritchie County state trooper was shot a while back. He'd been shot and other officers couldn't reach him because the shooter kept firing. I pray that we never have that type of incident here, but this vehicle could be used in a situation like that as protection for officers while retrieving someone who has been injured," Graham said.
In other business Thursday, the commissioners approved the expenditure of $7,500 to purchase a 1998 model vehicle with 33,000 miles on it to be used by the Wood County Fire Investigation Teams.
"It's a more practical vehicle than the one they are using right now, and would require a lot less maintenance than the one they are using now. They located this rescue truck in Ohio. It is being used by a volunteer fire department, but they have a new vehicle. It has lots of secure storage space for the investigation equipment," Prosecutor Jason Wharton said. "The present vehicle could be auctioned off."
The commissioners voted unanimously to allocate the funds. "The money will be taken from the coal severance funds," Commissioner Blair Couch said in making the motion.