BEARCAT: Right to Know
On Monday, September 9, 2013, the City Council of Concord approved the grant application to receive a Ballistic Engineered Armored Counter Attack Truck. The 11-4 vote defied the will of the community, ignoring the more than 1,500 petition signatures collected by individual activists, the 50 people who testified against it, and the many, many Letters to the Editor, articles, and editorials against the BEARCAT. The City chose instead to side with the police chief and the 4 people who testified in support of the attack truck. According to documents I received under a 91-A Right to Know request, it appears Chief Duval amended the language in the grant application on August 8, 2013 (four days before the original hearing) to remove references to specific groups, saying “the references were made to illustrate my intended point…” The new language says the City needs a BEARCAT in order to use it against “frequent demonstrations by officially organized groups which have the potential of becoming volatile and present challenges” and “homegrown clusters or individuals who are anti-government and pose problems for law enforcement agencies.” Yes, you read that right. Chief Duval needs what he calls “a replacement rescue vehicle” to deal with constitutionally protected free speech activities in the state capitol. On numerous occasions, Chief Duval stated the BEARCAT is simply a “rescue” vehicle. However, on page 2 of the grant application under “Project Category,” instead of selecting the category “Rescue” (it’s right there on the form), “CBRNE” was chosen. CBRNE, for the uninitiated, stands for "Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear and high-yield Explosives." Also, on page 6 of the grant application under Part B II the core capability for this BEARCAT is listed as “Interdiction and Disruption.” Let me clue you in, “interdiction and disruption” has nothing to do with “rescuing.” Some of the councilors cited the untruthful “rescue vehicle” angle as being instrumental in deciding to vote for the BEARCAT. Councilors also mentioned, based on Duval’s August 12 testimony and in subsequent one-on-one meetings with some of them, that the BEARCAT was a “replacement vehicle” for the aging Peacekeeper. However, on page 6 of the grant application, under Section II b) “Does the requested equipment replace any existing inventory?” The answer is categorically: “No.” Questions: 1. The letter from Chief Duval to Assistant Commissioner Earl M. Sweeney is dated August 8, 2013. If these documents existed at the time of the August 12, 2013 hearing, why was this not disclosed at the hearing? 2. In Earl M. Sweeney’s August 9th letter he states: “Your grant has already been processed and approved.” This means the grant was approved with fraudulent, false and misleading statements included. 3. What would happen to an ordinary person who made these kinds of fraudulent, false and misleading statements to a government agency? On the plus side: The Council needed a two thirds majority to pass the motion, so technically, the vote failed by only two votes. This should be another reason to motivate you to move sooner rather than later--we need you! Several people approached me afterwards to say they were going to run for these elected seats. At least one candidate has already filed. The possibility still exists that with enough grassroots pressure, the Mayor could do the right thing, as happened in Berkeley and Albany CA, and send a cancellation statement. Since the approval was based on a fraudulent, false and misleading grant application, followed by more false and misleading testimony on which the councilors relied, Mayor Bouley should issue a cancellation statement. Finally, besides the incredible amount of media attention and traffic this matter has given the FSP, best of all is knowing it is motivating new signers and movers. Says Dan Johnson, founder of People Against the NDAA: “After watching the videos, interviewing some of your activists, and watching the way you stood for liberty against an oppressive government, you have inspired thousands of others, including me. I truly believe we can achieve liberty in our lifetime. With that, I fully intend to move to the great state of New Hampshire. My signed application is in your inbox. Never back down.” Amended Section B: "The State of New Hampshire's experience with terrorism slants primarily towards the domestic type. We are fortunate that our State has not been victimized from a mass casualty event for an international terrorism strike however on the domestic front, the threat is real and here. Due to the location of the State Capital in the City of Concord, there are frequent demonstrations by officially organized groups which have the potential of becoming volatile and present challenges. Outside of the officially organized groups, there are several homegrown clusters and individuals that are anti-government and pose problems for law enforcement agencies. As for all-hazard risks, NH is susceptible to man-made disasters, weather related incidents or CBRNE events. Because of this, our Unit researched existing ‘Specialized Response and Rescue Vehicles’ which would make our response possible to such dangerous events and rescue missions. We currently do not possess such a vehicle. The type of vehicle would be capable of deploying bomb, HAZMAT, and special weapons personnel, equipped to detect chemical, biological and radiological materials as well as explosive gases. This vehicle also needs armor properties to protect these personnel and hits from multiple projectiles when required to enter ‘hot zones.’ The Lenco ‘Bearcat’ meets all these requirements. The Bearcat has an optional Radiation Detection Package which can detect Alpha, Beta, and Gamma radiation. Another option is the Draeger Explosive Gas Detection System which can detect explosive gases. It is also equipped with a 1/2" Mil Spec A46100 Ballistic Steel rated at NIJ level IV (.50 Caliber and .30 Caliber AP, State Department Armor Level E). This provides appropriate deflection of blast fragmentation and protection from projectiles." Attached is the packet of documents received from Concord Police Department in response to my 91-A request. Photo credit: The Concord Insider.