The Herald, Sharon, Pa.

Local News

November 14, 2013

CIRT gets armored vehicle

MERCER COUNTY — Rather, he said, it’s a rescue vehicle that will protect law enforcement officers from gunfire and other attacks during situations that can turn deadly almost immediately. The CIRT team, composed of about 20 highly-trained police personnel from all parts of the county, along with four negotiators, responds to high-risk search warrants, hostage situations and terrorism threats. Initiated in 2005, the team has been called out to 16 incidents so far this year, Hartman said.

The team is part of the Pennsylvania Region 13 All Hazards and Counterterrorism Task Force and the new Lenco Bearcat is one of four in a 13-county area, according to Frank Janetti, Mercer County’s Emergency Management director. Money to purchase the vehicle came from grants through the Department of Homeland Security.

Bearcat is an acronym for Ballistic Engineered Armored Response Counter Attack Truck. The vehicle, made in Massachusetts, is built from the chassis of a Ford F-550. It has .5-inch steel armored bodywork, complete with .50-caliber-rated ballistic glass capable of withstanding hits from multiple weapons, blast-resistant floors, specially designed gunports and a roof hatch.

Hartman, commander of the CIRT team, said the vehicle also has radiologic warning capabilities and a specially designed thermal imaging camera, optimal for helping search heavily wooded areas for suspects, as well as a detector to warn occupants if they are in an explosive gas situation, such as a methamphetamine lab.

By purchasing the vehicle, police now have a tactical advantage they lacked before, when they used standard issue police cruisers.

“We had to approach the scene and walk, maybe for blocks, to the area where there is a hostage or a shooter, making us targets. With this, we can drive right up to where we need to be,” he said.

Hartman stressed it’s for the safety of not only police, but residents too who may be caught up in a deadly hostage situation. While CIRT is a multi-jurisdictional operation, the vehicle can also be called to areas outside the county, if necessary, according to Janetti.

The vehicle arrived in October and was put into use almost immediately. Detailing and decals were recently added and Hartman held a press conference Wednesday morning to officially roll it out. Also at the event were police chiefs Riley Smoot of Southwest Mercer County Regional, Brian Blair of Hermitage, Denny Stevens of Greenville and Dean Osborne of Grove City. All serve on the board of directors for the CIRT team.

Hartman said he plans to take the Bearcat out in the community so people can become familiar with it.

“We’ll be in the holiday light parade in Hermitage to start,” he said.

Text Only
Local News
  • 3rd Earth Fest draws families to Penn State

    Penn State Shenango’s Earth Fest has become a spring tradition for area residents.
    Families poured into downtown Sharon for the campus’ third annual sustainability celebration.

    April 22, 2014

  • Amish clean Shenango River Volunteers protect Shenango River

    Shenango River Watchers has spent more than a decade working to clean up the Shenango and improve recreational access to its water and banks.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • For many, recycling’s become way of life

    When Pennsylvania mandated curbside recycling for its larger municipalities in 1998 – those with more than 5,000 people – there was grumbling about government interference in the lives of everyday people.

    April 22, 2014

  • Many items can’t be thrown away

    The computer screen in front of you isn’t likely to do you much harm, at least not until it’s tossed in a landfill where the lead-filled components start to leak and eventually find their way into your drinking water, according to Jerry Zona, director of the Lawrence-Mercer County Recycling/Solid Waste department.

    April 22, 2014

  • David Sykes' solar panels Earthworks

    While touring Germany last year, David Sykes spotted solar panels resting in a residential back yard.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Burned using Icy Hot, woman claims

    A Grove City woman has sued Chattem Inc. and Rite Aid of Pennsylvania Inc., alleging she suffered a second-degree chemical burn using one of Chattem’s Icy Hot pain relief products.

    April 21, 2014

  • Family outing Family friendly

    “We’re No. 5’’ isn’t a sports cheer you’ll hear any time soon.
    But considering the lumps the greater area has gotten over the years on economic rankings, it’s an outright victory.

    April 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • To demolish or not Tear it down? Fix it up?

    In 2007, Richard D. Givens bought a home at 831 Knobwood Drive in Hermitage for $245,000.
    Today, the city of Hermitage is seeking the demolition of the now-vacant house, arguing the damage from water infiltration makes the structure not worth saving.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • News briefs from April 19, 2014

    April 19, 2014

  • Man admits having child porn

    A Mercer man accused of soliciting and downloading photographs of nude teenage girls pleaded guilty April 8 to sexual abuse of children for possessing child pornography.

    April 19, 2014

  • Police getting new tool to fight crime

    Sharon police working at crime scenes will be putting a powerful new investigative tool to work as soon as next month.

    April 19, 2014

  • Soap box derby finds new home

    The Greater Pennsylvania Super Kids soap box derby for special-needs kids is moving to Sharpsville.

    April 19, 2014

  • News briefs from April 18, 2014

    ‘Nonspecific threat’ prompts evacuation

    Supreme Court refuses to hear couple’s appeal

    Lung Association offering free radon test kits

    April 18, 2014

  • Man admits to choking; rape case is dropped

    A Greenville man on Thursday pleaded down a rape case to simple assault and continued to deny that he committed any sexual crimes.

    April 18, 2014

  • Judge issues tabletop ads injunction against couple

    A judge recently handed down an injunction prohibiting a Sharon man, his wife and two companies associated with the wife from working in the tabletop advertising business within 100 miles of Sharon.

    April 18, 2014