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Officials to Open Bids for Armored Rescue Vehicle Wednesday

The bids will be unsealed at 10 a.m. Wednesday.

Township officials will unseal bids for the armored rescue vehicle requested by the Police Department on Wednesday, Feb. 13.

Township Council authorized the cancellation of a total of $550,000 of unused capital improvement funds, dating back to 2007, at its Jan. 28 meeting.

The township will use a portion of the canceled capital funds, which date as far back as 2007, to pay for the armored rescue vehicle. It will also use funds from drug forfeitures, officials have said.

The vehicle will cost about $250,000, according to Business Administrator Tom Cardis.

The Clerk's Office is scheduled to unseal the bids at 10 a.m. Wednesday, Clerk Rosemary DiJosie said. The bid event is open to the public.

Cardis said Tuesday he expects Council will move to reward a contract for the armored rescue vehicle at its Feb. 25 meeting.

The bulletproof police vehicle has been a hot topic of conversation in the township since Police Chief W. Harry Earle went to Council to discuss purchasing it back in early January.

Monday night's Council meeting was no different.

Michael Mortka, of Tilford Road, questioned how the armored rescue vehicle would assist police in serving high-risk warrants—a use he has heard offered by proponents of the vehicle's purchase.

"You're already out of the vehicle so it's not doing you a whole heck of a lot of good," he said.

"No, it would do a lot of good, because you can drive right up to the door," Deputy Police Chief David Harkins countered. "If an officer is hit, you can make a rescue by putting that piece of equipment between where the bullets are coming from and where the downed officer is."

Harkins later asserted the armored rescue vehicle is not tank, as several people have suggested at recent Council meetings.

"This is not a tank. This is the same level protection that an armored car driver drives around in that we see at banks every day," he said. "That's what it is. It's a vehicle. It's a truck that's built on a Ford F-550 body. The difference is the materials it's made out of are the only thing that's test and assured to stop bullets."

Harkins clarified comments he made on Jan. 14 regarding Camden County Sheriff's Department's availability to bring the county's armored rescue vehicle to incidents in Gloucester Township.

"We work hand in hand with the Camden County Sheriff's Department every day. They're our partners in public safety. And they are available 24 hours, seven days a week. If I misspoke...I meant that they are not working in patrol like our officers are working 24 hours, seven days a week. ... I don't want this perception that we have any issues. In no way did I intend to portray that we had any issues with the Sheriff's Department."

Council President Glen Bianchini again supported the purchase of the armored rescue vehicle during Monday's meeting.

"There are 37 towns in Camden County. One vehicle for 37 towns. Things happen so fast, it could be anywhere. With the things that are going on now, the recommendation of our experts—the police department, the chief, the deputy chief and others—we felt that it was the best to purchase, to be able to use our own and take care of our own business with that vehicle."

As Harkins noted, to a police officer involved in a shootout or standoff with an armed suspect or suspects, "minutes feel like hours."

Michael February 13, 2013 at 01:11 PM
Who are the "others" that Bianchini mentions?
SJ Birds Fan February 13, 2013 at 01:24 PM
My township is buying a Tank. Its ridiculous - period. There is no justification for this purchase.
Mr Chance February 13, 2013 at 02:11 PM
I would like the Township Council President Glen Bianchini to provide the public a list of each event in the last 10 years where an armored vehicle would have had to been used, incidents where “shots were fired serving a warrant” or “armed bank robbery in progress”? I understand that one armored vehicle for 37 towns in Camden County seems inefficient but how many of those towns have had a need in the last ten years? Does Gloucester Township plan on allowing this armored vehicle to responds to any of those other 36 towns? Will we charge those towns for use of our armored vehicle? It just seems to me that this vehicle may get more use at parades and Gloucester Township Day events. The $550,000+ would seem to be in more need for other uses, not sure rules allow but could it be used to help resolve the contract issue with the teachers union or repave Erial and Berlin Cross Keys road?
True Dat February 13, 2013 at 02:31 PM
Well stated, Doug. Our Township government should present an analytical justification for all of its major purchases. Such transparency should be the norm, but is completely lacking from our government.
Big Daddy 1 February 13, 2013 at 02:31 PM
We need to fix our roads first. They have been horrible for the last 3 years. I have had to spend thousands in repairs because of those conditions and I can't afford to buy brand new cars and a tank like our township has done. The patches on top of the sewer replacements are horrendous. The previous mayor got road work done.
rob February 13, 2013 at 02:44 PM
i would love to know how much kickback the guys that voted for this are getting i seen some stupid things in goverment but this takes the cake. as people pointed out it will be great parade rubbish. if we can afford the gas to run it.
Charles February 13, 2013 at 02:57 PM
If gas gets too high, expect the Trenton cronies to allow local governments to add a penny to sales tax on gas for "local safety/road" projects.
D. H. February 13, 2013 at 03:03 PM
What a waste of township funds. Every time I call the township to cut the township grass behind my house I get the "we have no funding" song and dance. Guess what township, next meeting I'll be there, give me a song and dance about no funds, better be able to then answer how funds are available for an unneeded tank...
Great Job Gt February 14, 2013 at 01:31 AM
Money well spent.......
Brian Madison February 16, 2013 at 03:26 PM
Retraction.. That's what happens when your mouth tries to write checks that your ass can't cash!! Done like a true politician that wears a gun & badge.. Good luck with ur bully bought ARV.. Please don't get anyone killed pretending to be something you're NOT!!
OCNJ February 18, 2013 at 12:26 PM
I take it you are a county worker or someone no doubt wishing you yourself are more then you are...how do you put it..."NOT." "Retraction" you say? The word used above in the article was clarified for all those opinionated for whatever reason or with the lack of brain cells to understand it the first time around. You need to learn a bit more about this police force and their performance as do many others instead of bashing without understanding. This county is going into the waste basket and everyone wants to point fingers. This town would be much worse if it wasn't for the efforts of our police to keep the crumb criminals out. I hope people don't think a county metro police force will do us the same protection if it goes that road.
Brian Madison February 19, 2013 at 06:19 PM
What I am is a resident of Gloucester Twp. What you are OCNJ is someone who likes to hide behind initials spouting off about things you know nothing about. If you have seen prior post by me, I have never said anything disparaging about the police dept. I believe they are well trained & do a fine job, as they should, they are some of the highest paid in the county. The fact that Gloucester Twp. has a majority of law abiding, upstanding citizens helps with that. My argument isn't even with the ARV, if they want 10, have at it, but how it was argued for is where I have the problem. Since you are coming into this conversation 2 months after the fact you have no idea what you or anyone else here is talking about. The "clarification" as you say was not to clarify anything. It was to say a little of what should have been said originally, but wasn't until someone called BS. So just go and hide behind your initials like a coward & when you use your name & only then will your opinion matter. Since you mentioned it, for the record I am completely against the county metro police plan.
Darren Gladden February 19, 2013 at 06:34 PM
High 5 Brian
Debbie Shinn February 22, 2013 at 02:34 PM
Charles, there is a bill presented to the legislature that would require towns to allocate red light camera money back to the state to fund just that, "safety/road projects". I'm sure that will never happen and besides, just a $$ grab by Trenton to get their hands on red light $$. They would only rob the Transport Trust fund of every $$ as they always do but it is a nice idea to allocate that $$ to safety /road projects.
DonBiase May 30, 2013 at 12:16 AM
Most of time, the departments get these toys FREE (meaning at the taxpayers expense) from the feds, and can't wait to use them. When I was a young men, policeman didn't hide their faces and try to play "velcro warrior", they were out serving the public and catching the bad guys. This militarization of the police is BAD.

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