Thanks but no tanks, Keene!

The residents of Keene have so far said no to the fear peddlers.
May their stand give all of us the courage to do the same.
-Robert Koehler

The purpose of this post is to share all BEARCAT-related content.
Transparency and the free flow of information are good.

Need to get up-to-speed about this issue?

Watch the excellent coverage in the video below or read the post:
Cowardly City Councilors Ignore the People, Vote for BEARCAT 9-4

Still interested in learning more? Below you’ll find:

  • an overview of Keene police chief Ken Meola and some Keene city councilors attempt to quietly acquire an armored vehicle
  • background of the not-too-surprising pushback from Keene residents
  • related videos and documents, including the 11-page grant request
  • a list of links to related content, and more

(BEARCAT stands for Ballistic Engineered Armored Response Counter Attack Truck)


The grant request to obtain the vehicle submitted to the the federal Department of Homeland Security was signed by:

  • John Maclean – city manager, 603.357.9804 – jmaclean@ci.keene.nh.us
  • Kenneth J Meola – police chief, 603.357.9813 – kmeola@ci.keene.nh.us
  • Martha Landry – finance director, 603.357.9805 – mlandry@ci.keene.nh.us

Keene BEARCAT Grant

*note page-by-page summary at bottom of post

BEARCAT-RELATED CONTENT

in chronological order:


HELP KEEP KEENE BEARCAT-FREE!

  • Join us at city hall to oppose the BEARCAT at the full city council meeting, Thursday, March 1st, 7pm [Facebook event]
  • Feeds below will stream city council meeting March 1st at 7pm (though stream may start earlier):
  • Call city councilors contact name/numbers here. If we turn around this vote, we can make history by being the only place to ever refuse a BEARCAT, and perhaps we could start a trend of more refusals around the country
  • Download the anti-BEARCAT flyer and distribute
  • Sign the online petition and share your thoughts on the issue as a comment
  • Share resources with those in your sphere: http://FreeKeene.com/BEARCAT & http://ThanksButNoTanks.com
  • Contact Mike Clark (involvement given below) if you want to help collect signatures on the ground or in another capacity. He’ll get you petition sheets or help you implement your idea keep Keene tank-free.
    via email: flesh dot clarky at gmail dot com
    via Facebook
  • Join us at city hall, February 2nd to “Oppose the BEARCAT” at the Full City Council Meeting, 7-10pm [Facebook event]
  • Join us at city hall for public comment at Finance Committee Meeting, Thursday, Feb. 9th, 5:30pm [Facebook event]
  • Join us at city hall to Oppose the BEARCAT the Full City Council Meeting, Thursday, Feb. 16th 7pm [Facebook event]

 

As Keene residents explain in the video below, there’s simply no need for such a militarized vehicle in beautiful Keene.


 

Watch: 24-minute video from packed Feb. 9th public comment session, includes quote by Keene mayor Kendall Lane “We’re going to have our own tank!”

Sign the online petition to keep Keene BEARCAT-free!

Learn more:

An Open Letter to Keene Residents:

Hello neighbor,

I know you’re busy but you will probably conclude that it’s worth your time to continue reading.

Many of us choose to call Keene home simply because it’s such an awesome community. That might not be as true in the near future if the Keene Police Department takes delivery of a BEARCAT (an armored vehicle) thanks to grant from the federal Department of Homeland Security.

City councilors essentially said ‘why not take it, it’s free!’ Yet you, the taxpayer, are now on the hook for its maintenance and operational costs. I bet you can think of many things you’d rather spend your money on in lieu of being saddled with the upkeep for an armored vehicle.

Do you want to live in a police state? Do you really believe that Keene “needs” a BEARCAT? Can you point to even one incident that has happened in town that warrants its acquisition? And why is the DHS, whose mission is aimed to “prevent terrorism” marketing the armored vehicle as a “rescue” vehicle?

Armored tanks have absolutely no proper place in a peaceful society such as we have here in Keene. The corrupt federal government would like for you to believe that your level of safety is somehow higher when the police have military equipment at their disposal, but the fact is that by far the most common use of such equipment remains to be the issuance of warrants against peaceful individuals; often accompanied by the destruction of their property, the death of their pets, and their own imprisonment, all without even the benefit of a fair trial beforehand. Additionally, such raids have resulted in needless deaths not only of the suspects involved, but of police officers, children, and innocent bystanders.

This is the future that the continued militarization of police promises for the city of Keene.

Many police departments in the country now have helicopters and drones in their arsenal of military equipment which is appropriate to nothing but war and death. Where does it end, and where do we as a peaceful group of people stand up and say NO to this tyranny?

Join us in saying “Thanks, but no tanks”


Reaction to the BEARCAT:
From Keene resident Heika Courser:
Please don’t hide behind the guise of this being an all-terrain vehicle that will assist in the once in a great while rescues that occur. BEARCAT stands for Ballistic Engineered Armored Response Counter Attack Truck. Again, utter nonsense!
From area resident Craig Dallas Rice:

Homeland Security says we better beware. So do the Keene police. So does the Keene City Council. But what do the citizens of Keene say? . . .

I do not believe that we really need this vehicle in Keene. The Monadnock Region is one of the safest areas in the world. As it stands now, the police and rescue personnel do what they do with adequate and modern equipment. They can continue to improve the way they handle situations in the future without military-style enhancement. Policing will still involve the legal use of violence in some situations but if they need a tank or an airstrike, I guess it is still better to call the National Guard.

If we the people still have any say, I hope we will be heard to say no to the BearCat.

From Grafton, NH resident John Connel:

As Pastor of Peaceful Assembly Church (organized in Grafton, NH), I urge you to please STOP this madness. You are taking us down the same path as all those “evil” governments in history. I could die of a broaken heart caused by what this country is becoming, and that the Military Industrial Compex is now even pushing its’ way into local governments.

They told us about those “evil” governments “over there” – particularly those in our own lifetime. So, we all know where this path leads.
When the history is written of us, let it say that the good folks in Keene, NH helped us step back from the brink. Please – let it say that.
I pray for you all.
Peace.

The video below was made by LENCO, the manufacturer of the BEARCAT vehicle. LENCO pulled their video on/around Feb. 7th in reaction to the unwanted attention their pending BEARCAT delivery to Keene PD had attracted. The video below was ripped prior to that and re-uploaded to another YouTube channel.



Mike Clark, born 27 years ago in Keene, long-time No Job 2 Odd employee and drummer of Keene-based Aggressive by Nature, has spearheaded the charge to say: Thanks but no tanks, Keene!

He wrote and printed petitions imploring the Keene city council to reconsider their pro-tank decision and allow for public discussion on the matter. In just a few days Clark personally collected almost 150 signatures, which he brought to the city council meeting.

Per his conversations with city public officials, Clark expected that by presenting the petitions now, he’d secure a spot on the agenda of the following week’s finance committing meeting. Instead, Keene mayor Kendall W. Lane took the request as “information,” effectively shelving any public discussion. That was on January 12th.

On January 26th Clark’s own father – Terry Clark (the lone city council member that didn’t vote in favor of the BEARCAT), put in a motion to reconsider. Apparently a request made by a city council member carried more weight with the council than did a request submitted by a concerned resident as it was agreed to have public discussion:

-on February 2nd, the issue will be raised at the 7pm city council meeting.

-on February 9th, public comment will occur at the 5:30pm finance committee meeting.

Make it clear that Keene should remain BEARCAT-free!

 

Thanks but no tanks, Keene!

BEARCAT Flyer (double-sided)

  • pg. 1 –
    the “Grant Application Instructions” from the Dept. of Homeland Security
    Additional guidelines could be obtained through the URL indicated: a FEMA page
    Also provided, a checklist “for your convenience in preparing, completing and submitting your grant application”
    At the bottom of the page contact information is listed as:
    NH Department of Safety – Grants Management Unit
    Commissioner’s Office-Second Floor
    33 Hazen Drive
    Concrod, NH 03305
    which, according to this site, would mean the grant request was handled by either John Barthelmes, Pamela Urban-Morin or Robert Pragoff
  • pg. 2 –
    “Lead Applicant Agency” was identified as the “Keene Police Department”
    “Partnering Cities/Counties/Agencies” listed “All Cheshire County Law Enforcement Agencies”
    House and Senate district were requested
    “Project Name” was identified as “Keene/Cheshire County Specialized CBRNE/WMD Rescue Vehicle” with an “Amount” of “$285,993”
    Later the “CBRNE/WMD” was further detailed as “prevention, protection, response, recovery”
  • pg. 3 –
    the name, title, contact information and signatures of three involved with the grant request:
    John Maclean (city manager), 603.357.9804 – jmaclean@ci.keene.nh.us
    Kenneth J Meola (police chief), 603.357.9813 – kmeola@ci.keene.nh.us
    Martha Landry (finance direction), 603.357.9805 – mlandry@ci.keene.nh.us
  • pg. 4 –
    The start of the grant submitted for the Keene/Cheshire County Specialized CBRNE/WMD Rescue Vehicle
    One typical sentence: “The terrorism threat is far reaching and often unforeseen. . .”
  • pg. 5 –
    The grant submission continues
    Focus shifts to natural disaster and “situations” when a BEARCAT “was needed”
    The solidification of relationships between Cheshire County public safety agencies due to the shared nature of the BEARCAT
  • pg. 6 –
    The grant submission continues
    Focus shifts to reasons why Keene might experience a terrorist event including “numerous private manufacturing facilities that deal with multi-government/military agencies . . .
    The collaboration between agencies is again stressed
  • pg. 7 –
    The “Scope of work (30 words or less)”: “The scope of this project is the purchase of the LENCO BEARCAT Specialized Mission CBRNE Rescue Vehicle as outlined in the attached LENCO quote: 7741-1.”
  • pg. 8 –
    “Section III: Project” posed questions to be answered by grant-requesting party
  • pg. 9 –
    “Section III: Project” continued with questions answered
    It’s outlines that LENCO will train one Keene police department employee, who will in-turn train others
    The BEARCAT is to be picked-up by four “department members”
    Insurance would be through the “City of Keene”
    Keene police department is responsible for upkeep costs
    Services will be done by someone “from the departments’ tactical team line item.”
    It’s built on a Ford F-550 chassis that will be serviced by the “City of Keene Fleet Services”
    Vehicle lifespan is “estimated to be 20 years”
  • pg. 10 –
    “Section III: Project” continued with questions answered
    The question “Does this project include multi-jurisdiction explosive attack prevention planning?” was answered with “YES. This vehicle will allow multi-jurisdictional planning to begin . . .:
    “Law Enforcement Funding Amount” is listed as “$283,993”
  • pg. 11 –
    “Local Funding Amount” is listed at “$0.00”

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