Thursday, May 29th, 2008

Morris County has unveiled a new tactical armored vehicle that will enable the county’s emergency responders to effectively respond to threats to public safety and security.

The Bear Cat vehicle is specially designed to provide a high level of ballistic protection during an emergency. It can be deployed to rescue an officer, responder or civilian who is pinned down by gunfire or evacuate students from a school in the event of a school security incident.

Purchased with $271,968 in Homeland Security funds secured with the assistance of 11th District Congressman Rodney Frelinghuysen, the vehicle also has built-in capabilities to detect certain chemicals and hazardous materials.

The vehicle will be assigned to the Morris County Sheriff’s Office and will be available for use to assist other law enforcement agencies in the county.

Acquisition of this vehicle continues the county’s Homeland Security Strategy developed in 2002, which centers on providing first responders the tools to effectively respond to threats to public safety and security.

During the past few years, the county has purchased such items as gas masks for every police officer, escape hoods for every EMS provider and chemical protective clothing that was placed on every fire truck in the county.

This equipment provides a level of protection to the various responders so they could safely evacuate, treat or decontaminate the public in the event of a chemical related attack or accident.

The county has also dedicated significant Homeland and county funding to provide a high level of communication among all of the response agencies in the county by funding and deploying the Morris Interoperable Radio System.