The Police Vehicles of Ferguson, Missouri

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The siege-ish landscape of Ferguson, Missouri has attracted attention around the world, most notably from the White House. President Obama suggested yesterday: “I think it’s probably useful for us to review how the funding has gone, how local law enforcement has used grant dollars, to make sure that what they are purchasing is stuff they actually need.” Here’s a look at the St. Louis County Police Department and the Missouri State Police, and the type of vehicles they have at their disposal:

St. Louis County Police
Special Equipment Vehicle


According to the Fenton-High Ridge Patch, the St. Louis County County Police Department received a grant from the Department of Homeland Security to equip its Tactical Operations Unit with a specialized equipment truck in November of 2012. The unit shown above is similar.

The Special Equipment Vehicle appears to be an International Durastar cab and chassis with a specialized 24-foot box that acts as a “mobile home” for a lot of the equipment the St. Louis County Police Department acquired since Department of Homeland Security grants became a vital source of funding after 9/11.

“It gives us the ability to have 100 percent of our equipment with us if we were to encounter an active shooter, mass casualty event or even a chemical, biological or nuclear event,” he said.

The equipment covers a wide range of tools, including robots of various sizes, breathing apparatus, protective suits and instruments for the county’s “cut team.” It also can serve as staging center during emergencies.

“We can have it where the tactical operations team is, so we have a very small command post within the truck,” Belmar said. “It really gives us the ability to satisfy the mandate to respond as effectively as possible.”

The truck was outfitted by Farber Specialty Equipment at a cost of about $240,000.

St. Louis County Police
Missouri State Highway Patrol

Lenco BearCat LE


The BearCat LE is produced by Lenco in the town of Pittsfield, Massachusetts. “BearCat” is actually an acronym for Ballistic Engineered Armored Response Counter Attack Truck. The vehicle is based on a Ford F-550 Super Duty chassis, and powered by either a Triton V-10 or a 6.7-liter Turbo Diesel, with a six-speed automatic transmission.

The body is 1/2″-thick steel and the glass can withstand “multiple rounds of up to .50 caliber.” The BearCat features blast-resistant floors and gun ports. The hatch on the roof allows personnel to ride high in the wind, while the dual air conditioners keep up to 10 heavily armed peace officers cool in the heat.

In 2010, an offender in Athens, Texas fired 35 rounds from an AK-47 at tactical police without a round entering the BearCat. In June, 2012, the Central Bucks Emergency Response Team took 28 rounds from a high-powered rifle, with similar results.

The BearCat LE is primarily used by law enforcement, and the company also produces a Military Model with four doors and a turret for a .50 caliber or a Dillon Mini Gun. The G3 edition (shown above, in use by the Nashville Police Department) is similar to the LE, but features four-wheel drive.

Lenco also produces a Riot Control model with a hydraulic ram and an LRAD (Long Range Acoustic Device) designed to disperse crowds with ear-splitting noise.

The Patch article suggested that the cost for St. Louis County Police’s Lenco was approximately $360,000. No word on the cost of the Missouri State Highway Patrol’s Lenco, but the cost has to be similar.

Missouri State Highway Patrol
Mobile Command Unit


The Missouri State Highway Patrol’s Mobile Command unit weighs 39,000 pounds and is decked out inside with computers, video screen, and a satellite station. It allows the MSHP to communicate not only with police, but with fire and other public service departments, and even utility crews.

Lt. Bruce Clemonds noted in an article from, “You can actually run a county or a city out of this vehicle.”

The mobile unit is based in Jefferson City runs off a diesel generator that sips about a gallon an hour from the 100-gallon tank.

The estimated cost of the Mobile Command Unit was $800,000, paid for with a grant from the Department of Homeland Security.

Craig Fitzgerald

Craig Fitzgerald

Writer, editor, lousy guitar player, dad. Content Marketing and Publication Manager at

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