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Camden County Refutes Gloucester Twp.'s Claims About Armored Vehicle

Camden County owns an armored rescue vehicle, which is parked in the township. Gloucester Township wants to purchase its own for its police department, at a cost of $250,000.

Gloucester Township police can have access to Camden County's armored vehicle any time they want it, a county spokesman said Monday afternoon. 

The spokesman, Dan Keashen, refuted claims made recently by a Gloucester Township police commander, who said the county's vehicle isn't always available when needed. 

The township wants to spend $250,000 to buy one of the vehicles exclusively for use by its police department. Use of the county's vehicle is overseen by the Camden County Sheriff's Department. 

During a township council meeting Jan. 14, Gloucester Township Police Deputy Chief David Harkins said, in justifying the proposed purchase, "I only know that the Sheriff's Department often is not on call 24/7."

He also said, "the vehicle that the county has, we used to be able to go pick it up and use it, but they changed that. We're not allowed to do that. We have to wait for a sheriff's officer to respond with it."

Finally, Harkins expressed concern that the rescue vehicle could be in use in other towns and not immediately available to Gloucester Township Police in an emergency. 

None of those concerns are valid, Camden County spokesman Dan Keashen said. 

Responding to the assertion that the sheriff's department doesn't work around the clock, Keashen said, "That's completely untrue. The sheriff's department is a 24/7 operation."

Keashen added that Camden County municipalities—including Gloucester Township—requested the armored rescue vehicle a total of 10 times for tactical responses in 2012. 

"The vehicle was delivered all 10 times, and all deliveries took place even before the tactical teams' response to the location," he said. 

Keashen also said the requirement that only the sheriff's department can operate the vehicle when it's requested by municipal police isn't written in stone. 

"We have an agreement with the municipalities that only a sheriff's officer will operate the vehicle, but there's certainly flexibility in that," he said. "There's a liability piece to that, but I know municipal police departments have operated that vehicle, Gloucester Township being one of them.

"There's never been an issue brought up the sheriff's department in which there was a conflict with getting the vehicle to a location" when it's needed.

The county's armored vehicle is parked at the Lakeland complex in the township's Blackwood section. Camden County paid $289,000 for the fully equipped vehicle in 2009, using Homeland Security funds, according to Keashen. The county received the funding because it agreed to share the vehicle regionally, he said. 

Gloucester Township Council voted at its Jan. 14 meeting to solicit bids for its own armored vehicle. The township's vehicle would be paid for with unused capital improvement funds from prior years and proceeds from drug forfeiture cases, officials said.

The purchase is not on the agenda for tonight's regular council meeting. However, the township is holding a special meeting at 6:30 p.m. in council chambers at the municipal complex. Council states on the agenda that the reason for the closed meeting is to discuss "techniques utilized in protecting public safety and property/governmental buildings." 

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Patrick January 28, 2013 at 10:28 PM
If the Sheriff's Office is using the ARV, and the Township has an emergency, how can the Sheriff say it will be available? Does the ARV have the ability to defy physics and be in two places at once? I doubt it. The Township needs it's own ARV to deal with incidents that are becoming more and more common. If it saves the life of one person, then it was worth the money.
D. H. January 28, 2013 at 10:38 PM
As a retired police sergeant, toys are great, but not at the taxpayer's expense. One question. How many times was a vehicle like this really needed in the past three years? I believe the answer would be zero!
Paul J. DiBartolo January 28, 2013 at 10:39 PM
To quote George Takei, "Oh my!"
J Mac January 28, 2013 at 10:55 PM
Hey...let them buy it...at least it's something tangible that "we" can see, and at least we know they aren't blowing every dime on golf outings, hookers, and OxyContin's...maybe we should get a spy plane too...or perhaps, a submarine, incase someone decides to steal a candy bar from Heritages and make their escape down Blackwood Lake...
Pete Heinbaugh January 28, 2013 at 11:15 PM
Good point, Patrick. GT better get two ARV's, then. What if there are two calls in GT at the same time? Heck, if it may save a life, how about three? Just to make sure, lets keep going,,,,let's hire more officers so that there is one placed every fifty paces throughout the town. If it saves the life of one person, then it was worth the money.
J Mac January 28, 2013 at 11:16 PM
Hey...just a thought...if we do get one...will they paint it black and put a pink roof on it? Because we all know how great that color scheme looks, right?..lol...my official thanks to the mayor of this great township for helping my neighborhood make the cover of Ghetto Magazine...
Pete Heinbaugh January 28, 2013 at 11:22 PM
Patrick, the scenario you suggest has not happened yet COUNTY WIDE. But if we want more security and to benefit more citizens, wouldn't it make more sense for the County to buy a second ARV?
DJM January 28, 2013 at 11:27 PM
I fully support Law Enforcement and especially Gt but as I said earlier its a total waste! Gt has plenty of new toys to play with and to add another at such a hefty price tag is not needed! What are we going to WAR in Gt?
Mike Mortka January 29, 2013 at 12:45 AM
Mike M I saw one suggested use in the comments above. That said the vehicle is used to serve dangerous warrants. Doesn't the officer still have to get out of whatever vehicle he arrived in to serve the warrant? I don't see how this is helpful in such a case. I would like to know what else this vehicle has been, or could be, used for. I realize there are a lot of dangerous things that happen in this country like to shootings in Aurora and Newtown, but if either police force had a vehicle like this, they could not have prevented what happened. Just by owning a vehicle like this, you can't intimidate would be criminals. Why can't the leftover capital fund money be returned to the taxpayers or put to good use in the schools? The fact that this purchase is even being considered is a sad comment on where the minds of those governing the Township are.
pat h January 29, 2013 at 01:08 AM
Why not just buy s surplus military vehicle with a 50 caliber turret for as often ss it is used and really put the fear of God in the criminals
KING TUT January 29, 2013 at 02:11 AM
What a joke, another toy for the police department to play with, oh,I know, park it in front of town hall and plant flowers in it. If one of gts finest accidentally fires their weapon inside of it, there will more officers in cooper, keep all the female officers away from it, they could break a nail. Better yet, put a mattress in it for the night shift
GTWatchdawg January 29, 2013 at 04:48 AM
For those that did not attend tonight's council meeting. The money for this vehicle has been all but appropriated. You are now all the proud owner of this ARV. $277,000.
EaglesFan856 January 29, 2013 at 06:34 AM
I support whatever makes the community more safe. If it calls for this purchase so be it..if not then lets look for other methods. I do not understand why anyone would call this vehicle a "toy" though, I guess people see safety as a joke.
Tammy Lowry-Cottom January 29, 2013 at 08:16 AM
Really?? I have lived in Blackwood for going on 6 yrs & I have never seen this once! And I live at a busy location!! The GTPD used it 10x's for what? Drills? Why not donate the money to the Youth Association to help defer the costs for kids who want to participate in sports but there parents can't afford it?? Or offer it to the Middle/High School for activities to keep our kids "out" of trouble.
Tammy Lowry-Cottom January 29, 2013 at 08:18 AM
Please tell me your kidding?!?!?!
Tammy Lowry-Cottom January 29, 2013 at 08:19 AM
How will this make our community safer??
telepathy January 29, 2013 at 09:31 AM
They're getting ready to go to war with the resident evils from the City of Camden! They are being and have been relocated into our township and throughout Sicklerville to make way for the aggressive and total revitalization of Camden. I like that they are rebuiding Camden City but at what expense. They are going to need to pull more of that money from under the mattress to compete. Probably "Shouldda bought a V8!"
telepathy January 29, 2013 at 10:07 AM
Hey ... Riddle Me This ... Unused funds = Unaccounted Funds = Grand Jury + Subpoenas = Interests + Targets = Indictments? Stop "Livin Off The Wall"
Stay Informed January 29, 2013 at 12:50 PM
no matter what you all say they are buying it...
Paul J. DiBartolo January 29, 2013 at 01:13 PM
I have to agree with Tammy. So, to make it personal and up close, exactly how do you think this vehicle will make you, and yours, safer in some tangible way?
Brian Madison January 29, 2013 at 01:16 PM
FINALLY!!!!! A lot of the truth comes out... Wake up Gloucester Twp.. Make them spend this money elsewhere.. Give every penny to the PD however make them use it on essential equipment & training, in light of recent events at their PD they could use it. I'm guessing the Dep Chief won't be doing press releases anytime soon. What a bad way to try & backdoor the public with untruths. As a law enforcement officer, integrity is all you have. There was no integrity used here.
Rob January 29, 2013 at 02:53 PM
It all comes down to cost vs benefit. The chances of this vehicle actually saving a life is possible although extremely small. Is it really good to spend 250000 dollars on such a small possible benifit when we have a county vehicle at our disposal? I dont think so. I feel that this money could easily be put to better use elsewhere. From the posts on this board it seems that many others feel the same way that I do. I hope that our elected officials are listening. There job is to serve the people.
Paul J. DiBartolo January 29, 2013 at 06:00 PM
The rationale that has been put forth and parroted by some is, "If it will save one life it is worth it." If the people who said that realized what a subjective statement that was I would hope they would be intelligent enough to never say it again. I would have to say such a reason for doing something is put forth because there is no other reasonable or intelligent explanation. Wouldn't we spend every penny we had if it would keep our loved ones safe? Then why do any of us have any money left in our pockets?
@xxLouA January 29, 2013 at 06:26 PM
maybe part of the OB team in D.C. Spend, man... spend
@xxLouA January 29, 2013 at 07:54 PM
What you have left they will try to weed out that is if anything is left after the Great one in DC gets finished.. the ppl voted all these so-called ppl in office so now you pay...... Done Deal?
telepathy January 29, 2013 at 09:25 PM
Not for Lonnnng. http://townhall.com/news/politics-elections/2013/01/14/massive-corruption-case-going-to-trial-n1488603?page=full Looks like somebody Danced With The Devil By The Pale Moon Light. Could this be Gloucester Township Soon?
chuck January 31, 2013 at 11:28 PM
If GT gets this ARV were are they going to park it. Because there is no more room in there parking lot. With all there other vehicle that just sit there day after day after day.
chuck January 31, 2013 at 11:42 PM
Tell me why we need this ARV.. How will this vehicle and only this vehicle maybe save a life someday.
Debbie Shinn February 02, 2013 at 10:49 PM
Patrick If the ARV is required for township emergencies at 2 diffrent places at the same time? We all need to move, it"s not safe to live here anymore.
Debbie Shinn February 02, 2013 at 10:51 PM
I believe the County vehicle was used 10 times last year. I think...could be wrong..

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