Earlier this year, the St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office had to call Calvert County to bring in a tactical armored vehicle to help deal with a barricade situation in Hollywood.
On Tuesday, the St. Mary’s County commissioners, on a 4-1 vote, gave approval for Sheriff Tim Cameron (R) to buy a tactical armored vehicle for his department.
The $266,000 vehicle will be purchased with local and federal forfeited funds, “paid for by money seized from drug dealers,” Cameron said at the meeting.
“These guys have been asking me since day one in the office for an armored vehicle. It’s like a bulletproof vest; it’s a staple,” Cameron said after the meeting.
Detective Mark Howard told the commissioners he serves on the sheriff’s emergency services team. “Our neighboring counties deploy these vehicles successfully,” he said. During the Hollywood barricade situation, “We needed it. We had to rely on our neighboring counties to get it.”
Such vehicles are also needed while executing narcotic search warrants, he said.
“It certainly can be used for a multitude of events,” Cameron said, including during hurricanes and other emergencies.
“We know the best way to hurt drug dealers is to take their money,” said Commissioner Dan Morris (R), who was a police officer in Prince George’s County.
He asked how strong the armor will be.
Cameron said it can stop up to a 50-caliber round, “certainly everything we’re seeing and more,” on the street.
Commissioner Cindy Jones (R), who voted against the purchase, asked if the sheriff got any community feedback on buying the vehicle. Cameron said he discussed it with his citizens advisory committee.
Jones said next month’s public forum would have been a good time to hear any community input about the armored vehicle.
“It’s not tax dollars,” Morris said. “This was money that was seized from drug dealers.”
“But it’s designed to save lives,” Cameron said.