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Posted October 5, 2010 | comments 23 Comments

Bad guys, beware: Armored vehicle arrives in Warren County

State-of-the-art crimefighting tool pleases local law enforcement

By Ben Orcutt -- borcutt@nvdaily.com

FRONT ROYAL -- With a state-of-the art armored vehicle at their disposal, Warren County Sheriff's Office officials say they have a tool that will enable them to resolve high-risk incidents safer and more quickly.

"Had we had this vehicle back during the Vincent Marshall thing where he was shooting up the neighborhood [on Durham Drive in 2005] and our deputies ended up in a a shootout with him, I mean it would have been far safer and we could have possibly avoided one of our deputies being shot," Lt. Kahle Magalis, commander of Warren County's special operations team, said Friday. "It hasn't been that long. It seems like we're responding to barricaded armed subjects on a more regular basis now than we ever have."

The armored vehicle can stop .50-caliber ammunition and is capable of detecting chemical, biological, radioactive and explosive material, Magalis said.

"There's an on-board camera system with nighttime capabilities, which obviously is a big deal when we're responding to something in low-light conditions," Magalis said. "There's an intercom system on it as well."

Sheriff Daniel T. McEathron said the armored vehicle, which was manufactured by Lenco Industries of Pittsfield, Mass., weighs 8 tons and has half-inch steel all the way around. It also has 40-inch military tires.

"It's big enough to go through a house if it had to," said Sgt. Roger Vorous, assistant commander for the special operations team.

McEathron said the Sheriff's Office received a $302,000 grant through the federal Department of Homeland Security and administered through Virginia's Department of Homeland Security to purchase the armored vehicle for $278,000. The remainder of the grant was used to purchase personal protective equipment for the 10-member team. The Sheriff's Office also is in the process of purchasing a license plate reader.

The armored vehicle has been deployed once on a search warrant operation, McEathron said.

"It's kind of like you get a call with [an] armed suspect or a barricaded-type suspect and you roll in there with a canine, the person hears a dog bark, it has a deterrence," McEathron said. "This vehicle is going to have a deterrence. It's going to have an impact. If somebody looks out and sees a Ford Crown Victoria sitting out there, they may not take you very seriously, but if they look out the window and see this thing sitting there, they're going to know you're serious."

The air-conditioned vehicle has three zoom-in cameras and 2 1/2-inch bulletproof glass.
A team can be assembled in 35-45 minutes and deployed anywhere in the Northern Shenandoah Valley, which was the purpose of Warren County receiving the grant, McEathron said.

The sheriff said that 14 of the armored vehicles were distributed across the state, with only three sheriff's offices -- Rockingham, Stafford and Warren counties -- receiving them.

"We're going to coordinate with the different jurisdictions here in the valley and set up training with them so they feel comfortable when we show up there [with] what piece of equipment they have," McEathron said, adding that a neighboring jurisdiction can either request the vehicle with an operator and an observer or the entire team.

"As far as I know this will be the first armored vehicle that's in the area," said Sgt. Jason Cornwell, an assistant tactical team leader for the Frederick County Sheriff's Office. "Probably within an hour or less we can have an armored vehicle to any serious situation [that] would require something like that."

Strasburg Police Chief Tim Sutherly also is pleased about being able to use the armored vehicle.

"Well of course any time you have a tool like that it's beneficial to everyone in the area, but hopefully we would never need it," Sutherly said. "But if an incident like that were to occur and we needed something like that readily, we would have it readily available."
The idea with the armored vehicle is to have an edge on the bad guys, according to McEathron.

"We're in a very dangerous business," McEathron said. "We're not interested in leveling the playing field. We're interested in having the high ground. When you go to a situation, you want to make sure you have the advantage, no matter what that situation is because it is a life-and-death situation for the men and women that are deployed."
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23 Comments | Leave a comment

    This is just too ridiculous. It brings visions of the suburbanite wanting to one-up their neighbors by buying a Hummer to park in front of the house. A wasteful use of money, just to impress.

    when was the last high risk incident in our town, and this is where our tax money goes. Maybe they can let Oyre ride around in it, and give speeding tickets.

    Seems a little much against drug possessions, pedophiles, shoplifters, and wife-beaters - the top 4 offenses we read about in the area...

    Could the money have gone to better use?

    “Open the door or I’ll huff, and I’ll puff, and I’ll blow your house down.”

    I'm sure this piece of equipment will get used once every five years. Glad to see our fine tax dollars at work.

    About time a law enforcement agency in the valley is being proactive and not reactive. Granted it may never get used but, again how often do law enforcement use their guns. Not that often. At least now if something does ever happen our local law enforcement will be ready to handle the situation with the proper equipment and hopefully no one will get hurt. I think its great that our "tax dollars" were used to purchase this vehicle. If it saves the life of one citizen or one officer it is worth every penny of my tax dollars that were spent on it.

    Well, its rare that we all agree on something, but I think we found it.... What the heck. An armored vehicle? For Front Freakin' Royal? I'd think a Medieval catapult would suffice there... LOL!!! At the very least they coulda sprung the extra $50 K and gotten the amphibious version of the EM-50 (Urban Assault Vehicle).

    Kudos to anyone who gets THAT reference.. :-)

      You all need to calm down; it was a pre-existing DOJ grant for the vehicle and equipment. DOJ has been giving out grants to get equipment in the hands of LE Departments for well over 20 years.

      If Warren County wasn't selected, another agency would have been selected. As it turns out, Warren County was one of just a few that filled out the paperwork properly and submitted it on time. Because they did, they were chosen to receive the equipment.

      No, I don't work for Warren County and yes I do work in LE, bit for another very large county. But I do applaud Sheriff McEathron for bringing the Agency up to current standards and finding ways of getting new equipment to protect the citizens without spending local dollars to do so.

      Real, tangible equipment, not some made up GMC Motor Home used in the Movie Stripes.

    It was paid for by a grant for God's sake! If the Sheriff's Office didn't take advantage of the Federal funding, some other locality would. I agree that the vehicle probably won't get much use, but we will have it if the situation ever arises. I applaud the Sheriff's Office for going after the money and taking advantage of a program that was going to award the vehicle to somebody whether Warren County applied for it or not!

    If this website isn't full of people repeatedly complaining about anything and everything that ever happens in this town, its full of long winded, babbling whiners, that obviously like to sit at their computers and smirk as they read and re-read the ingenious comment they just came up with. If you don't like something, try going to a Town or County meeting from time to time to express your concerns instead of sitting at home crying about it.

    Another waste of money that could have better been used elsewhere brought to you by the Department of Homeland Insecurity. They have spent BILLIONS on things just like this while the economy sinks even farther into the abyss. Currently brought to you by the Idiot in Chief-a total Obamanation if ever there was one.

    Thank goodness that only a select few think like some that post on here. I want my local Police or Sheriff's Office to have all the equipment they need to help protect me and my family from some of the lunatics that live around here. Im with you Robbie, if it helps save the life of one citizen or Police Officer it is worth every penny. When will people get off the backs of the ones that protect their families everyday? Ungrateful and pathetic if you ask me!!!

    To those who think that their town and or county are quiet you have no idea of what really goes on. I guess you are the ones that think Home invasions,carjackings,and hostage situatuions never happen. You always hate law enforcement but are the first ones to scream for help and wonder why they don't respond fast enough. I doubt that many of you could do their jobs for what they get paid. I'm sure that most of you don't have the courage to face a violent offender.So before you condem them for trying to go home alive and save you,sit back and put yourself in their shoes.

    "The armored vehicle has been deployed once on a search warrant operation, McEathron said." Really? Was it a band of desperados? Did they roll the vehicle inside the house to protect themselves? Is Front Royal expecting an unruly 4th of July crowd someday, a riot in the streets, maybe urban warfare on main street? I think I read they also have a real swat team also. What is all this in preparation for? Let me not sound like a conspiracy kook but maybe it's for when they round up the citizens someday who disagree with Big Brother......hmmmmm

    Was this a leftover from the "Mad Max" movies?

    Funny Irishman! I think the EM-50 would be too much for Front Royal to handle, remember what it did to Czechoslovakia! hahaha! ;)

    But just think how cool it will look in the parades...

    Well since we live in a perfect world and everyone is compliant the WCSO does not need this vehicle. All of those who negatively commented about the armored vehicle were setting in their cozy house not worrying about things that go bump in the dark because you have proactive LE officers out there just waiting for your scream so they can risk everything to save your day. Yes, I agree that it will not be used alot but there is always that what if situation that they need to be prepared for. I hope you all are never in a barracade situation were they made need this vehicle to save you ungrateful people who enjoy the peace and comfort that your WCSO provides. This is just an opinion just like yours. Have a good day and be safe out there.

    That's the problem with 'city governments'. If there's money available they grab it without thinking of the taxpayers first since we are the ones who is footing us. They have, in their mind, it's not our money and it's available so why not get it since someone will. Well, maybe some county or city that REALLY needs & can USE this equipment NOW won't get it.
    Yes, it's nice to have it when a situation arises but how often is it really needed. How about a helicopter? Wouldn't that assistance them too? Is that next for FR?
    Did they do a cost analysis on the upkeep for this equipment? Do they have 'written agreement' with the other county on 'sharing' it's cost since it's there for their request also? Or is FR going to pay for it all?

    What kind of gas mileage does this thing get? 4mpg? Just getting it out of town limits is going to cost money that the sheriff's office has been saying they don't have. They are even getting new vehicles when I see about 10 parked outside their offices everyday but they're needed.

    What, just because they bought it with a grant everyone thinks it's o.k.? Where do you think grants come from? TAXPAYERS so it's still your money being used people.

    Each of the police officials quoted in this article has failed to display knowledge of successfully wining a siege situation. What should a wise law enforcement official do? If he was well read he would know the answer is NOT found by possessing an armored personnel carrier.

    The Art of War by Sun Tzu suggests “So it is said that if you know your enemies and know yourself, you can win a hundred battles without a single loss. To fight and conquer in all your battles is not supreme excellence; supreme excellence consists in breaking the enemy's resistance without fighting. Thus the highest form of generalship is to balk the enemy's plans, the next best is to prevent the junction of the enemy's forces, the next in order is to attack the enemy's army in the field, and the worst policy of all is to besiege walled cities. For to win one hundred victories in one hundred battles is not the supreme of excellence. To subdue the enemy without fighting is the supreme excellence."

    The point of public relations slogans like "Improves Public Safety" is that they don't mean anything... That's the whole point of good propaganda. You want to create a slogan that nobody's going to be against, and everybody's going to be for. Nobody knows what it means, because it doesn't mean anything. Its crucial value is that it diverts your attention from a question that does mean something: Do you support our policy? That's the one you're not allowed to talk about.

    “Human beings will generally exercise power when they can get it; and they will exercise it most undoubtedly, in popular governments, under pretense of public safety.”
    Daniel Webster

    John, the money from DHS is set aside for LE to use. If the WCSO would not have used it another jurisdiction would have. Guess what, Warren County got it for you. Thank you Grant Writer Lady.....

    You aint seen nothing yet.watch for the new apache helicopter extremely armed and loaded with all modern warfare.coming soon to a small town near you. It's all about who can out do who. what ever happend to impravise,adapt&overcome.

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