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Delaware County officials unveil new SWAT Vehicle

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
DATE:  May 28, 2014
CONTACT PERSON: Emily H. Harris, 610.891.4163

Delaware County now has a new state-of-the-art vehicle that will not only enhance the safety of residents but also ensure the safety and protection of law enforcement officers in dangerous, high-risk situations.

County officials including members of Delaware County Council and District Attorney Jack Whelan were joined by police chiefs at Rose Tree Park on Wednesday afternoon for the unveiling of the new “SWAT ONE” armored response and rescue vehicle. Armed tactical officers released inert gas from the robotic arm and exited the vehicle in a demonstration that highlighted the vehicle’s capabilities and features.

Delaware County officials spoke on the critical role SWAT ONE will serve in protecting residents, police officers and the greater regional public safety community. 

“As businesses continue to expand here in Delaware County, we are continually committed to making sure that our police have the ability to address new threats,” said Delaware County Council Chairman Thomas McGarrigle. “SWAT ONE supports collaboration among responders, enhances our capabilities and will save lives.”

Acquired by Delaware County Emergency Services, SWAT ONE is a 2014 Lenco “BearCat” ballistic engineered armored response vehicle that was manufactured in Pittsfield, Massachusetts and purchased for $332,852 with Homeland Security grant funds secured by Delaware County Council under FEMA’s Urban Area Security Initiative program. Haverford Township Deputy Police Chief John Viola led the design team, and will also be the lead in coordinating training for police officers and first responders. 

Specifically designed to meet the needs of Delaware County’s SWAT Police Emergency Response teams, District Attorney Jack Whelan worked closely with the Delaware County SWAT teams and regional Homeland Security officials to ensure that SWAT ONE met the tactical needs of law enforcement and addressed vulnerabilities to the protection of county’s schools, businesses and critical infrastructure facilities. Delaware County SWAT is comprised of six teams that cover the county, including Upper Darby, Haverford, Chester, Upper Chichester, Central and Southeast Delco.

“We now have the ability to protect our police officers as they approach homes, businesses and schools while taking direct fire,” said District Attorney Jack Whelan. “SWAT ONE can deploy officers quickly and also retrieve injured persons and move them to safety. It enhances our ability to respond to urgent situations and has an integral role in enhancing the county’s comprehensive homeland security arsenal.”

With room to carry up to 10 people, the vehicle offers greater safety to law enforcement officers and allows them to get closer as they approach a variety of tactical situations including high risk search or arrest warrants, barricaded suspects, active shooter scenarios, hostage situations and terrorist acts. SWAT ONE can withstand hits from a .50-caliber projectile, affording officers at a dangerous scene with much more protection from large caliber weapons.

Other capabilities include night vision optics, a gas injection system and a battering ram. The vehicle will be available and on call to Delaware County’s municipal police departments and neighboring counties including Philadelphia law enforcement.