Sentinel Reports on Upcoming Bearcat Hearing

Sign the online petition to keep Keene Bearcat-free!

Free Keene is mentioned and I am quoted in this latest article about the upcoming public hearing on the BEARCAT by the Keene Sentinel’s Kyle Jarvis:

The public will have an opportunity next week to speak about the Keene Police Department’s acquisition of a new grant-funded armored vehicle.

Last month, the Keene City Council approved the acceptance of a $285,933 federal Homeland Security grant to purchase a LENCO BearCat Special Missions Vehicle. But some residents questioned whether such a vehicle is necessary in a community of Keene’s size, and a petition signed by more than 100 residents asked the council to reconsider accepting the grant.

Councilor Terry M. Clark submitted a letter to the council requesting the issue be sent back to the council’s finance committee to allow the public to speak on it, and the full council approved the request, supported by the committee’s chairman, Mitchell H. Greenwald, Thursday night.

“I think it’s good they decided to do that (open the topic for public discussion), but it’s unfortunate that it took Terry Clark to do that when we had a petition with over 140 signatures,” said Ian Bernard, a member of the Free Keene group who signed the petition and goes by the name Ian Freeman. He and other members of Free Keene attended Thursday’s council meeting, some holding signs that read “No Bearcat,” and “Thanks, But No Tanks.”

The vehicle comes with thermal imaging and off-road capabilities, as well as hazardous gas detection equipment, and police said the vehicle would be valuable when responding to extreme weather events, suspects with weapons and suspicious packages, among other situations.

u The finance, organization and personnel committee meets Thursday, Feb. 9, at 5:30 p.m. in City Hall.

Here’s a facebook event for the upcoming meeting.

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