New BEAR Vehicle Protects Hennepin County SWAT During Incidents

Updated: 04/18/2013 12:32 PM KSTP.com By: Kate Renner

An equipment upgrade unveiled Thursday will better prepare SWAT teams to respond to incidents in Hennepin County.

The newest vehicle in the Hennepin County Sheriff's Office fleet is called the BEAR and it's not just for it's massive size.

The BEAR stands for Ballistic Engineered Armored Response Vehicle. It's armored on all sides including the windows. The tires are puncture resistant.

And the roof has a hatch for officers to pop their heads out in a dangerous situation for a better vantage point. "Each and every day we have incidents across this county, across the metro area where a vehicle with this capability could be used and will protect our officers and our citizens from any type of harm or risk," said Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek.

"So if it's a biological or chemical contamination and they can't breathe the ambient air or air in the environment. They can breathe the air that's onboard the vehicle, and then drive into contaminated area and deal with the incident," said Officer Mike Huddle, St. Anthony Police.

The Hennepin County Sheriff's Office got a $400,000 grant from the Department of Homeland Security. It's to be used in the 5-state regional area.