City Council, LISTEN TO KEENE: Say NO to Tanks!

I know there has been much hoopla regarding the Lenco BearCat, but since I am unable to attend this Thursday’s meeting, I wrote city council a quick letter:

I would first like to take a moment and say thank you to Terry Clark, for his quiet attempts in educating the city of the Lenco BEARCAT and opposing its being in Keene.  I feel I made the right choice in voting for him, as he truly listens and cares what people in this city want. I hope the rest of the city council takes note of him and follows suit.

With that said, I am flabbergasted as to why there is even consideration for this war-like machine for Cheshire County. Keene is the biggest town/city in the county, and we certainly don’t need it! Thermal cameras so whoever is in the BEARCAT can see what’s going on in the ‘privacy’ of homes? Gun stands? We, in NH are able to boast that we live in one of the safest places in the country. Now you want to make it a military state? People feeling threatened and nervous by the sheer SIGHT of this monstrous ‘truck’?

I have personally done a bit of research on these machines, and have found that this would not be beneficial in the least to our area. When it needs to be serviced or a part replaced, we need to take it to MA (there are only 4 places in the country that service them). I understand the government (thanks a lot, Bush and Obama) will give Keene a grant of about $285,000  to purchase the BEARCAT, but will the grant also cover the cost of repairs and upkeep? I do believe that will be coming from taxpayers such as myself. No thank you! What about the money/resources to effectively train people to use it? I do not want to see many of the KPD have such a powerful tool as they already abuse the ones they have. You, as city council, have done some great maneuvering and compromising with certain situations in the past, but you have NOT been good with taxpayers’ money. You have continued to blow it on ridiculous things that we don’t NEED and many people don’t WANT. I strongly urge you to think VERY carefully about this piece of equipment.

As cited from the MSNBC website, “Other criminal justice experts have questioned whether police need minitanks, saying they’re often used for mundane tasks such as serving warrants, and create a sense of police as military soldiers rather than neighbors. They also contend that BearCats and other SWAT machinery do little to prevent violent crimes, which have fallen steadily in the past decade.”  The crime rate in the US is the lowest it has been since 2002, despite the population being at its highest since then.

Its bullet-proof armor sounds great, but really, how often do we have shoot outs in Cheshire County? Here’s a fact for you: Roughly 50 officers die per year in the US while on duty. That is in the entire COUNTRY. Not much!  One other thing to consider: The only people this ‘tank’ will protect are the 2-10 people inside it.  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!

I know that MANY people in Keene feel the same way I do about this machine. Please take another look at the petition that has been going around town. You will see that not only “the free keeners” don’t want this image for our quaint and beautiful town, but business owners, city workers, political figures, teachers, parents, and people that voted for YOU are also saying THANKS BUT NO TANKS!

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