You can see how something vaguely resembling a tank on the streets of New Glasgow would raise eyebrows – that and a lot of wry comments about this piece of police equipment.
What could they possibly use that thing for? That’s been a typical reaction to the acquisition by the New Glasgow Regional Police Services of a surplus Cougar stripped of its military wherewithal and weaponry.
Granted it does pack an eerily surreal presence on our quaint streets. But it’s not a huge stretch to think this Armoured Vehicle General Purpose, as the disarmed model is known, will present a use for the local police departments and the emergency response team.
New Glasgow Police Const. Ken MacDonald referred to the kind of situation: evacuating or rescuing citizens in certain emergencies, or transporting officers in a dangerous situation.
We might well enjoy a community of very little violent crime. But incidents such as standoffs do happen even in small towns. The safe assumption made by police in such bizarre instances is that weapons could be involved, so a secure, impenetrable vehicle for responders to reconnoitre has a role.
Granted, these kinds of critical incidents don’t happen often. And that brings up another point. Had the local police force said, hey, we need this, and it was going to cost a couple of hundred grand, we might be a lot more skeptical. But this, compliments of National Defence, was a surplus item and MP Peter MacKay assured the deal didn’t cost a dime.
Police say as well that maintenance and operational costs will be low. This is a far better fate for such a piece of equipment than the recycling depot.
It could possibly use a paint job, along with some PR. Put it in local parades. Although with an idle RPM of 2,000, the parade marshal might want to be fairly strategic about who to queue up as the entrant directly in front.
But, beyond the reasonable price tag, and the prospect of possible though infrequent use, man, that thing looks cool. What’s not to like?