Weatherford Democrat

February 28, 2012

Bulletproof wheels on way for Special Ops team

Judy Sheridan

PARKER COUNTY — Parker County Commissioners authorized the purchase of a BATT (Ballistic Armored Tactical Transport) AP SWAT vehicle for the Weatherford-Parker County Special Operations Group Monday.

The vehicle — which will be used to transport SWAT teams to a call out location — replaces a 1980 Peacekeeper armored truck purchased as military surplus about three years ago, Capt. Mike Morgan, commander of the SWAT team, said. It will be funded through a $196,600 Homeland Security grant.

Morgan said the vehicle is “far superior” to the current vehicle in terms of armor protection, deployment and tactical abilities and operational storage.

According to literature from The Armored Group, LLC, the BATT can accommodate 10 to 12 geared officers and stop .50-caliber rounds.

The company will construct the vehicle from a 2012 Ford F-550 commercial chassis, Morgan said, in a process that will take three to four months.

The sheriff’s office plans to add a winch kit and other improvements by drawing from the department’s forfeiture fund, he said.

“The way things are going in this county, you’ll probably be using this a lot,” Precinct 1 Commissioner George Conley said.

“It’s unfortunate that little ‘ol Parker County has reached that point,” Judge Mark Riley agreed.

The Weatherford-Parker County Special Operations Group operates under the direction of Sheriff Larry Fowler and Chief Mike Manning of the Weatherford Police Department.

The SWAT team is made up of volunteers from the sheriff’s office, the Weatherford police and the Parker County Fire Marshal’s Office, Morgan said.

The team has one commander, 12 SWAT operators and four hostage negotiators.

“Parker County is seeing an increase in the number of armed calls and encounters,” Morgan said. “The Batt provides a significant level of protection for the SWAT Team when called out.”