Armored Rescue Vehicle

Background

Riverside County is the 3rd largest county in the State of California. It is over 200 miles in length and 50 miles wide and has a population of 2 million people. Only 5 armored vehicles are in use and available to law enforcement within the county. Of the 5 available armored vehicles, none are housed in Southwest Riverside County. The closest armored vehicle to Southwest Riverside County is housed in Hemet. It is estimated that a mutual aid request by Murrieta PD to Hemet PD for their armored vehicle would result in at least a 1 hour response time.

Response

In 2010, the Murrieta Police Department recognized this equipment need. Grant funding requests for an armored vehicle through the Office of Homeland Security were submitted on 2010 and 2011. Both grant requests were not funded. In Feb 2011, Chief Mike Baray made a request through the California Public Safety Procurement Program for a used armored vehicle. A Mechem Casspir APC became available in October 2011 and Chief Baray authorized delivery of the vehicle. No general fund expenses were used to purchase the vehicle, since it was surplus military equipment and was free to local law enforcement. Several similar vehicles have been made available and subsequently acquired by other law enforcement agencies throughout the country.

Outcome

Over the course of 2 years (Oct 2011 to Oct 2013) the armored vehicle was completely rebuilt and up-fitted for police department use. Funding for this retrofit was provided through the Federal & State Asset Forfeiture program. These funds consist of currency and other financial assets lawfully forfeited from the profits derived from the illicit criminal activity of drug dealers. These funds are restricted by federal law for limited law enforcement only purposes; i.e. supplemental purchases of safety equipment. Asset forfeiture funds cannot lawfully be used to supplant normally budgeted equipment purchases. No tax payer funds were used to purchase or up-fit this ballistic vehicle.

On October 24th, 2013, the armored rescue vehicle was introduced at the San Bernardino / Riverside County SWAT Commander’s meeting. The vehicle has been added to the tactical equipment sharing program and is operational at this time.

Up-fit costs paid through asset forfeiture funds

Vendor CostUp-fit Time Frame
Johnson Machinery $110kDecember 2011 to May 2013
Z Best Paint $15kJune 2013 to July 2013
Johnson Equipment Co. $15kAugust 2013 to November 2013


Specifications

101 inches wide (semi is 102”), 24.5 feet in length, 10 feet tall
22,060 pounds (2,000 pound payload)
55 miles per hour (5 speed manual transmission) 250 hp (550 pounds torque)
Engine: ADE Turbo Charged 352T Diesel (Mercedes Benz) – all wheel drive

Ballistic Protection

Certified to protect its occupants against the effects of a mine blast (14 kg of TNT) anywhere under the hull. Standard ballistic protection against 7.62 x 51 mm NATO and 7.62 x 39 mm (AK-47) ball ammunition.

Potential Uses

The Armored Rescue Vehicle is deployed operationally on the following types of incidents:

High risk search warrants and arrest warrants targeting armed and dangerous individuals. These are warrants are typically served by the SWAT team and the armored vehicle is an asset that is utilized during service.

SWAT Team Callouts dealing with all tactical problems from barricaded and armed subjects to hostage rescue.

Sniper style shooting, school violence and rescue of injured officers and/or citizens would require the use of an armored vehicle. Without the availability of an armored vehicle, law enforcement can be held at bay by an individual using a high powered rifle. Time is in critical in saving lives during these events. With Murrieta’s armored vehicle housed at the police department, deployment time to anywhere in the city has been cut dramatically.

The armored vehicle is a regional asset and would be deployed throughout Southwest Riverside County in the event a mutual aid request was made by a surrounding law enforcement agency.