- Associated Press - Sunday, January 19, 2014

POCATELLO, Idaho (AP) - A $240,000 BearCat armored police personnel carrier has arrived in Pocatello for use in southeast Idaho.

The Idaho State Journal reports (http://bit.ly/Kn7OZ5) the vehicle arrived Thursday and is being housed by the Bannock County Sheriff’s office.

“We’re going to get the striping on it,” said Sheriff Lorin Nielsen said. “We want it to look like a police unit.”

Bannock County purchased the vehicle with help from Power, Bingham, Franklin, Oneida, Bear Lake and Caribou counties. Officials said it can respond throughout southeast Idaho when an armored vehicle is needed.

Nielsen said a public demonstration of the vehicle’s abilities will be held before the end of the month.

“We’re looking forward to being able to show it off to the public,” Nielsen said.

He said the regional SWAT team will have time to train with the vehicle before the public demonstration.

“Our guys need to know what it can do first,” the sheriff said.

The Preston Police Department has a Mine Resistance Ambush Protected Personnel Carrier it acquired for no cost in September that it uses for such things as armed standoffs. Earlier this month the vehicle was used at Franklin City to back up the Franklin County Sheriff’s office.

The MRAPs, as they’re called, were used in Afghanistan and Iraq to protect troops from explosions and heavy arms fire. Surplus vehicles have been given to police forces. The Pocatello Police Department and Bingham County Sheriff’s office remain on a waiting list to receive one of the heavily armored vehicles.

“We’re still working on the paperwork,” said Bingham County Sheriff Craig Rowland.

Nielsen said the BearCat is lighter and faster than the MRAPs, making it better suited for responding to various situations across the region.

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Information from: Idaho State Journal, http://www.journalnet.com

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