Berlin NH requests a BEARCAT

I recently found out that the Berlin Police Department has submitted a grant application for a Ballistic Engineered Armored Response Counter Attack Truck (BEARCAT). You may recall the Keene Police requested and received a similar armored vehicle after citing Pumpkin Fest and the Clarence Del Mar marathon as reasons for the needing a vehicle to be used to fight terrorism. And more recently, the Concord PD claiming “Sovereign Citizens, Free Staters and Occupy New Hampshire are active and present daily challenges,” in addition to organized groups, it cited “several homegrown clusters that are anti-government and pose problems for law enforcement agencies.” When asked to provide documentation of the “daily challenges” presented, the Concord City Clerk responded that there were no such documents.

In North Country, the Berlin PD’s application, which is full of spelling errors, cites 1) proximity to Canada; 2) terrorists coming in from Canada; 3) Carl Drega; and 4) Nathaniel Kibby as reasons for needing the vehicle. (more…)

Union Leader Reports on City Council Ignoring BEARCAT Return Proposal

BEARCATThanks to Meghan Pierce for her report on the Keene City Council’s outright refusal to even hold a public hearing regarding councilor Terry Clark’s proposal to return the BEARCAT attack tank to the feds. Here’s her story:

KEENE – A move to return the city’s BearCat armored police vehicle to the federal government was rejected by city council members 11 to 3 Thursday night.


City Councilor Terry Clark made the request to return the BearCat in a letter to Mayor Kendall Lane and the council dated Aug. 19.


Clark asked Lane and councilors to withdraw from the Homeland Security grant that funded the BearCat and return the specialized vehicle in light of the “the lack of use of and practical need for, as well as the derogatory impact on our fine city’s name,” he wrote. (more…)

BEARCAT vote (Sept 4, 2014)

On September 4, the Keene, NH City Council heard a communication from Councilor Terry Clark. Clark, who had been vocally opposed to Keene’s acceptance of the Ballistic Engineered Armored Response Counter-Attack Truck, wrote a correspondence to the mayor and council asking “the City of Keene (to) withdraw from the Homeland Security Grant” and return the “BearCat, to the appropriate government agency.”
During the council meeting, Mayor Kendall Lane suggested that the council take the correspondence as informational. The vote to override this motion was only supported by Councilors Chadbourne, Clark and Hague.

Keene BEARCAT Reconsideration Prompts State/National Coverage

Keene city councilor Terry Clark, a vocal opponent of the militarization of police, recently proposed that the Ballistic Engineered Armored Response Counter Attack Truck (BEARCAT) obtained through a Homeland Security grant in 2012, be returned to its giftors. The mayor of Keene successfully prevented the proposal from being considered by the full council, by filing the proposal as ‘informational’. When Clarke objected to the improper classification of his proposal, only two other councilors of fifteen — Emily Hague and Bettina Chadbourne — sided with Clarke, resulting in the defeat of the proposal before it would be seriously considered. Mayor Kendall Lane, who held the same office during discussion on the matter in years past, was caught on an audiorecording of a meeting hushedly whispering to another city official, “We’re gonna get our own tank”. Despite the lack of change in Keene’s status relative to the attack truck, statewide coverage of the situation in Keene has been featured in a video segment by WMUR, received front page coverage in today’s Union Leader, and has also sparked a hilarious satirical police blotter written by Lionel Beehner of the Huffington Post.

A delivery truck was double-parked in front of the Fun Suds Laundromat. Police called the EOD bomb squad to cordon off the block in search of suspected Iranian-made IEDs, while an F-16 provided air support. NSA was notified to check its foreign transcripts for any explicit threats made against Keene or the state of New Hampshire. No threats were made and no IEDs were found. The truck was towed.


Keene Council Shoots Down BEARCAT Return Proposal

Actual picture from LENCO's site

Feeling safer yet?

It appears the city council of Keene wants to continue to be the laughingstock of the world. Terry Clark, the heroic councilor who stood alone against the BEARCAT police tank foisted on us in 2012 by the Department of Homeland Security, had put forth a proposal to return the military hardware. The proposal was heard for the first time at tonight’s city council meeting, where it was shot down.

Rather than respecting Clark’s request for a public hearing on the matter, “mayor” Kendall Lane deemed Clark’s proposal as “informational”. This is a common tactic to blow the issue off the table and silence any discussion on the matter from the public. Normally, this is how proposals by us normal folk are treated, but city councilors’ proposals are generally given deference and are sent to a sub-committee for a public hearing. Not in this case. Despite councilor Emily Hague coming to Clark’s aid and objecting to Lane’s blow-off, they could not garner near enough votes to override Lane’s move. Only Emily Hague, Terry Clark, and Bettina Chadbourne voted to override – the rest voted to take it as “informational”.

What happened to Carl Jacobs and David Meader, two newer councilors who in 2012 had originally joined Clark (along with Bettina Chadbourne) in opposing the BEARCAT?  I was informed by council-observers that Jacobs and Meader voted with the mayor and for the BEARCAT this time.  Shameful.

Kudos to Terry Clark, Bettina Chadbourne, and Emily Hague for standing against police militarization.

What is next?  Council elections are next year.  Hopefully the voters won’t forget this and clean house.  Meantime, can the people of Keene do anything to keep this issue alive?  My understanding is the issue is no longer valid until it can be re-issued in 2015.  Please correct me if I am wrong.