Oceanside may buy armored assault vehicle in case of terrorist attack
Similar vehicles are owned by the San Diego County Sheriff's Department and the San Diego Police Department and are being considered for purchase by police departments in Carlsbad, Chula Vista and Escondido, according to a report by Oceanside Police Chief Frank McCoy submitted to the Oceanside City Council.
McCoy and City Manager Peter Weiss recommended that the council spend up to $250,000 to buy what is called a BearCat, a fast-moving, tight-turning vehicle that "provides a safer platform to operate in a highly hazardous situation" including SWAT standoffs and possible terrorist attacks. It would replace the city's aging SWAT vehicle.
"The city of Oceanside borders Camp Pendleton," the report notes. "Camp Pendleton ... [has] a significant portion of personnel being stationed there. This fact alone makes this location and areas bordering it legitimate terrorist targets."
The council is set to vote on the issue Wednesday night. The funds would come mainly from a grant from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
The BearCat, which comes in several versions, is built by Lenco Industries of Pittsfield, Mass., which bills itself as the nation's leading designer and manufacturer of tactical armored security vehicles.
-- Tony Perry in San Diego
Photo: SWAT officers ride on a BearCat, the same armored assault vehicle Oceanside will purchase for use in case of a terrorist attacks. Credit: John W. Adkisson / Los Angeles Times