In 2006, ILEAS purchased nine LENCO Bearcat armored vehicles and deployed them to nine WMD Special Response Teams. In the last two years, ILEAS has initiated a significant effort to replace its capital equipment – vehicles, radios, equipment, etc. Since the current Bearcats are 18 years old, a process began to replace them. To date four of the Bearcats have been replaced. As a result, four of these vehicles are being transferred to non-ILEAS SWAT/Tactical Teams.
ILEAS assembled an ad hoc committee to review applications for the Bearcats. Agencies applied online in July. The Committee met early in September and review the 18 applicant teams. Among several factors, priority was given to mature multi-jurisdictional teams with little or no nearby civilian armor. The committee made the decision to transfer the surplus Bearcats to the Illinois Valley Special Response Team (Bureau/Putnam), Livingston County Tactical Response Unit, Northwest Illinois Critical Response Team (Jo Daviess/Carroll) and the Galesburg Police/Knox County Sheriff’s Office Special Response Team. Also, as part of the capital replacement process, other large equipment items such as vehicles and trailers will also be transferred to local teams. AS they become available, ILEAS will reach out to the other 14 teams to see if they are interested.
Congratulations to the four teams receiving the Bearcats!