Lethbridge Police receive Commission support to purchase rescue vehicle

The Lethbridge Police Commission has approved the purchase of a used rescue vehicle that will help protect members of the public and police during violent armed confrontations.

Following a presentation to the Police Commission earlier today, members voted 5-1 in support of the acquisition.

Prior to the decision being made, Commission heard the nearest rescue vehicle that LPS has been able to access – and has accessed in the past – belongs to the Medicine Hat Police Service and takes a minimum of two hours (in good road conditions) to arrive – time police don’t always have when citizens’ lives are in danger.

On average there are eight full tactical call outs per year that involve members of the Tactical Team, Explosive Disposal Unit, an Incident Commander, negotiators, scribes and K9 in addition to frontline officers. The rescue vehicle will be used to protect the public and mitigate risk for all parties involved in a critical incident by enabling police to strategically drive between a shooter and potential victims, block vehicles so an armed subject cannot flee and present a greater risk to the public, move negotiators closer to an armed subject to facilitate negotiations and potentially rescue injured civilians and officers.

The vehicle will have NO weapons or other offensive capabilities and will only be used to respond to critical incidents.

“As the city grows, so does the risk of exposure to the kinds of threats being experienced elsewhere in Canada that have required a rescue vehicle,” said Chief Rob Davis. “This is another tool for our police officers to keep the community safe should we ever need it.”

The Greater Victoria Emergency Response Team has completed the tender process to purchase a new rescue vehicle and offered their existing vehicle to LPS at a cost of $8,000. The rescue vehicle is an upgraded 1993 International five ton diesel with ballistic panels that meet our tactical requirements and both National Institute of Justice and Centre for Applied Science and Technology standards.

Additional costs include $250 for a commercial inspection $5,000 to transport the vehicle to Lethbridge, $2,500 for insurance and $1,000 for annual maintenance by the City’s Fleet Services for a total cost of $16,750 in the first year and $3,500 per year (insurance and maintenance) going forward.

All funds to purchase the used rescue vehicle are currently available in the existing LPS budget and there will be no additional cost to taxpayers.

“We are committed to fiscal responsibility and this offer from Victoria Police gives us the ability to acquire a piece of equipment at a price that will not impact our existing tactical budget,” added Davis. “Given the high cost to buy a new vehicle we are grateful to Victoria Police for this opportunity.”

Comparatively, the cost to purchase a new rescue vehicle ranges from approximately $286,000 to $362,000.

LPS will now move forward in making the arrangements to finalize the purchase of the rescue vehicle from Victoria Police and transport it to Lethbridge. More information will be shared with the community as it becomes available.

A photo depicting the vehicle and what it may look like with LPS branding is included for release.