“Growl-meow!” -Bearcat

If you were driving past Halvorsen Park this morning you might have noticed a hulking metal beast chilling on the shores of Humboldt Bay. Fear not. We are not being invaded. The Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office was just showing off its fancy new life-saving tool for assembled media nerds. 

After spending a couple of years high on their wishlist, HCSO finally scored its Lenco BearCat (the “Bear” stands for “Ballistic Engineered Armored Response”), an “all-terrain armored response vehicle” they plan to deploy in the event of any number of dangerous situations, “including active assailant incidents, hostage situations, armed or violent suspect apprehension, and search and rescues.”

“It is a vital piece of equipment,” Honsal said. “What this is designed to do is save lives. Kind of like how a fire department has their fire engine, this is our equivalent.” 

During this morning’s Bearcat meet and greet, Sheriff William Honsal disclosed the new piece of equipment’s price tag as being $298,000 dollars, a bill covered by a combination of funding from Homeland Security and Measure Z. 

More about Humboldt Bearcat from Honsal in the clip below: 

More from the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office:

The Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office is pleased to announce the addition of a new Lenco BearCat (Ballistic Engineered Armored Response vehicle) to our fleet of resources that serve the residents of Humboldt County.  

The BearCat is an all-terrain armored response vehicle that can be utilized in a variety of life-safety situations, including active assailant incidents, hostage situations, armed or violent suspect apprehension, and search and rescues. As a ballistic resistant resource, the BearCat allows Sheriff’s deputies to enter dangerous situations and more effectively bring about peaceful conclusions. The vehicle allows deputies to de-escalate situations that could otherwise end up in one or more fatalities. Additionally, the BearCat’s ballistic resistance allows deputies to rescue victims or hostages during an ongoing, violent incident, saving more lives and enabling faster care for the injured.

In August of 2016, Sheriff’s deputies investigating an active shooter incident at a McKinleyville apartment complex utilized a Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office BearCat to conduct nearly 17 hours of negotiations with the shooter. Additionally, deputies used the BearCat to safely evacuate 10 to 12 residents who had been ordered to shelter in place during the incident, as multiple apartments were hit with gunfire. The BearCat was essential to deputy and civilian safety, allowing deputies to utilize all resources possible to de-escalate the situation prior to using lethal tactics. Though struck several times by the gunman, the BearCat kept all public safety officers safe during the incident.

“The BearCat is just another tool the Sheriff’s Office needs to keep the peace in a world that has become increasingly unpredictable,” Sheriff William Honsal said. “This essential piece of life saving equipment will greatly enhance our ability to rapidly react to a volatile life safety incident that could occur anywhere in the county or North state.”  

The Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office BearCat vehicle was funded by the Department of Homeland Security and Measure Z.

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Sheriff William Honsal at this morning’s Bearcat introduction

Redheaded Blackbelt’s Bobby Kroeker inspects Bearcat