Greenville police adds armored vehicle to force

GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) — The Greenville Police Department spent nearly $260,000 to purchase its new armored vehicle, the BearCat, but no tax dollars are going toward the purchase.

The money comes from criminal investigations, and the hope is the vehicle will be used as another tool to help GPD keep the community safe.

“This is something we’ll look back on and be able to count the value of this in saved lives in Greenville and eastern North Carolina,” said Greenville Mayor Allen Thomas.

Thomas said the recent purchase of an armored vehicle will have a positive impact on the area.

“This is something that will be used not just for Greenville but when we need to go and answer an emergency situation or a kidnapping anywhere in the region, we will be able to be there immediately,” Thomas said.

Greenville police Chief Mark Holtzman said his department carefully considered every aspect before moving forward with the purchase.

“The biggest thing for me when getting this vehicle — and a lot of thought was put into this — was that we do not undermine our trust and partnership with our community,” Holtzman said. “So, that is spelled out in the policy.”

Greenville police not only researched the vehicle but drafted policy to ensure the tool is used properly.

“Training follows the policy,” said Holtzman. “The policy comes first. The policy actually comes from my interaction with the community. When I’m hearing feedback from the community, concerns they have, we review our policies.”

Mayor Thomas said this is something the council took into consideration when voting on the purchase.

“It’s very narrowly defined when this can even be put into action,” said Thomas. “It’s very specific, based on a real and continuous threat where lives are at risk.”

“Over and over again, you end up using a BearCat to remove residents, neighbors from the hot zone and into a safe zone,” said Holtzman. “So the police can resolve that situation. Take people out of harm’s way.”

Active shooting situations in the city triggered conversations about the vehicle years ago and other agencies, including the Pitt County Sheriff’s Office are also on board with the purchase.

Holtzman says the vehicle will be ready and in the city by the first of the year.

Multiple agencies in eastern North Carolina will be trained on how to operate the BearCat, so it can respond to situations across the area.

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