OPINION: Over the top


So, the Chatham-Kent Police Service has a new toy.

The police service unveiled a seven-tonne armoured rescue vehicle.

It didn’t cost them a penny…well except for the $50,000 to refurbish and paint it. One can only wonder the cost for annual maintenance on this luxury item that General Dynamics Land Systems opted to donate to the municipality.

What the heck does the police service in a rural-urban community of about 110,000 need with such a luxury item?

Do we need to transport personnel through hostile territory, providing safety through bulletproof glass and armour?

It’s highly blast resistant, according to General Dynamics Land Systems staff from London. Great. We don’t anticipate our police officers encountering any improvised explosive devices (IEDs) as they patrol our roads and streets.

This is a military vehicle. And now it will be on the streets of Chatham-Kent.

CKPS chief Gary Conn stressed at its unveiling the vehicle – which is 21-feet long and stands more than eight-feet tall – has no offensive capabilities. That’s great, but when this beast roars up to a tense standoff, if most certainly will not serve to de-escalate the situation.

No, the armoured rescue vehicle exudes power and control, and could ratchet up the tension at a stand off or a protest, or whatever situation where it might be utilized.

Conn said it would be used perhaps three or four times a year, for incidents involving weapons or in extreme weather situations.

Rolling it into action once every three or four months? That sounds like a luxury item.

As the chief said, it could save lives. There is indeed the potential to get through heavy snow or deep water to rescue stranded citizens.

We’re sorry, but when we learned of the sheer size of this monstrosity, and the fact it will be on our streets, we could not help but think of the 1981 movie Stripes, and its EM50 Urban Assault Vehicle. In the comedy, the vehicle is a refurbished recreational vehicle.

At least the armoured rescue vehicle will not be staffed by the likes of the fictional John Winger, Russell Ziskey and Dewey Oxburger.


  1. Curious, what about instances like the snow storm we had just before Christmas last year? My Dad was personally out in his tractor pulling people out of the snow because police vehicles couldn’t get to them, and if they did they would just get stuck too. Could this vehicle be helpful in that situation?
    A tractor that size would cost upwards of 100k easily, so 50k to refurbish that vehicle is cheep in comparison.
    Seeing as multiple people froze to death in that storm, I would think 50k is a small price to pay if it saves even one person from that fate.


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