Concord City Council Votes In Favor Of Bearcat

Sep 10, 2013

The Concord City Council voted eleven to four in favor of accepting a federal grant for an armored police vehicle called a Bearcat. Many protesters turned out for the vote.

Concord council chambers in pre-vote discussion.
Credit Ryan Lessard / NHPR

 Before the vote, councilors took turns explaining their reasoning.  Ward two councilor Jennifer Kretovic says most of the calls from residents she received were in favor of the department getting the vehicle. And she says she believes recent crimes in the city swayed many.

 “We had two armed robberies. In ward 2, ward 1—we’ve had two robberies at the Cumberland Farms, at the Dunkin’ Donuts, we’ve had armed home invasions…” 

 Councilors who voted against the measure said they did so to reflect their constituents concerns.

 A large crowd of protesters turned out for the vote, many of whom were turned away from the door when the room reached a capacity of one hundred. After the vote, they projected the words "Bearcat for sale. Call 911" on the back of the nearby Christian Scientist church.  

 Carla Gericke, the President of the Free State Project says accepting the federal grant goes against New Hampshire values.

 “So, it’s a learning experience. I think people are disappointed but not surprised. And this Bearcat is really just a small sliver of a much bigger problem in this country.”

 The Bearcat replaces an older version of the vehicle the city already owns.  Police say it’s only for emergency scenarios and used very rarely.