Garfield County eyes armored vehicle |

Garfield County eyes armored vehicle

Phillip Yates
Glenwood Springs correspondent
Aspen, CO Colorado
The Garfield County Sheriff's Office is looking to purchase an armored vehicle like this one for its All Hazards Response team. The estimated cost of the vehicle the county wants to purchase is $236,000. (Contributed photo)

GLENWOOD SPRINGS ” The Garfield County Sheriff’s Office is looking to purchase an armored vehicle for high-risk, dangerous situations such as pulling an injured person out of a line of fire.

Sheriff Lou Vallario and Undersheriff Colt Cornelius spoke before the Garfield Coun­ty commissioners on Monday to explain their planned purchase of a new Lenco Industries BearCat, which is the only law enforcement rescue vehicle that offers .50-caliber protection to its occupants.

The sheriff ‘s office wants to purchase the $236,000 vehicle for its Garfield County All Haz­ards Response Team, which is currently comprises 17 mem­bers.

“We know when we are called we are going to respond to things a little more danger­ous,” Cornelius said. “The vehi­cle gives us a lot more protec­tion.”

Those situations can include serving high-risk arrest war­rants and facing various threat scenarios such as open gun­fire.

“The (BearCat) can drive into the line of fire,” Cornelius said.

The BearCat is built on a Ford F-550 Super Duty commercial chassis, and is designed to carry 10 officers comfortably. It can hold more officers during rescue operations and situations where “we need to pile in,” Cornelius wrote in a memo to commission­ers.

“Considering the inherent danger of our operations, I see this as a great resource geared toward protecting both the team members and citizens of Garfield County,” Cornelius wrote.

Vallario said money for the vehicle is already available in his capital budget for the year, with additional funds for the project coming from the sheriff’s office forfeiture fund.

“The funds are there,” Vallario said. “We are not asking for addi­tional funds.”

However, any movement of funds within the sheriff’s office for the purchase of the BearCat will have to be approved by the county commissioners. Sher­iff ‘s office personnel will appear again before the com­missioners on Monday to request the supplementary budget change for the new vehicle.