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The steel gray Lenco armored vehicle that rolled through Galax on Wednesday for the first time will be housed by the Galax Police Department and used within the region as an incident response vehicle.
The Galax Police Department received a $251,792 grant from the Department of Criminal Justice Services Law Enforcement Terrorism Prevention Program to buy the vehicle to respond to chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and explosives threats.
The military-style vehicle will be based in the city with the understanding that if needed within the region, Galax police will deploy it to another locality.
The vehicle can hold up to 10 people and would be able to transport them in a safe internal environment that is climate-controlled, said Galax Police Chief Rick Clark. The interior generates its own air supply that would allow officers to respond to chemical and biological incidents.
The front has a hydraulic battering device that could ram a building or clear cars or debris.
The 16,000-pound vehicle gets eight miles to the gallon, features tires that won’t go flat when shot and has armor that protects it from up to a .50-caliber round.
Clark said he has not decided where exactly the vehicle will be kept, but for now it is parked beside the Galax Police Department.
A portion of the grant allowed the department to buy radio equipment and personnel protective equipment for the Galax Tactical Response Team. Money was left over to continue to equip the vehicle, Clark said.
Galax was one of 21 Virginia localities notified earlier this year that they would receive an armored vehicle. Virginia State Police also has seven of them assigned throughout the state.