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Cops enlist a BearCat

The Ottawa Police Service Tactical Unit is rolling in an impressive new set of wheels.

The Ottawa Police Service Tactical Unit is rolling in an impressive new set of wheels.

The unit’s new $365,000 LENCO G3 BearCat armoured rescue vehicle officially went into service yesterday.

It will be used for high-risk vehicle stops or to rescue an injured person. There is room in the back for up to six officers and a stretcher. In the event an officer is wounded in a dangerous situation, the vehicle enables other police to retrieve that person without putting everyone at risk.

The vehicle is equipped with standard emergency features along with high-powered lights.

Chief Vern White said OPS responds to between 25 and 50 high-risk calls per year, during which police have to hope they can get close enough without being put under fire.

“We’ve had cases in the past where we’ve taped bulletproof blankets and vests over the fronts of vehicles so we can get close enough to a residence. That absolutely made no sense,” said White. “When you look at a city with almost a million (people), we get a number of calls where officers put themselves at risk unnecessarily. This unit will allow us to not find ourselves in those positions.”

White said this equipment is essential if the OPS is to maintain a high level of service.

“It’s not going to be sitting in the Market on the corner of York and Dalhousie on a Friday night,” said Const. Jim Hutchins. “It’s only going to be used for training or operational needs.”