Smith asked that the council allocate funds for a vehicle like the Bearcat similar to the one used by law enforcement in Bossier.
Smith said the vehicle is something the police department needs. He also told the council that SPD has money in its budget heading into the end. That money was meant for personnel positions that have not been filled.
Chief Smith said his department has to rely on Bossier’s armored vehicle in certain high-risk situations and that much of Bossier’s armored vehicle use is in Shreveport.
Smith said the armored vehicle was crucial during a police standoff on Jewella Avenue on October 26. In that incident, a woman barricaded herself inside a home and shot at police officers’ vehicles which prevented police from getting inside the home.
“Which not only does it save police lives. It saves civilian lives. That day which some of you witnessed when the lady was obviously having some mental issues, began to fire at the police officers, and the bullets began to deflect off the personnel vehicles,” Smith said. “One was a government one that was disabled. Officers would have returned fire, but because of that, officers did not return fire. All of my officers were saved. This lady was safe. We were able to neutralize the situation and get her the help that she needed.”
Shreveport Police, with assistance from the Caddo Parish Sheriff’s Office and Bossier City Police, arrested the woman without anyone getting hurt.
Councilwoman Tabatha Taylor said she was at the scene that day and saw how Bossier’s armored vehicle saved those officers’ lives. Councilman Grayson Boucher also told Chief Smith he fully supports purchasing the armored vehicle.
If the allocation is approved, Shreveport police will get a Lenco Bearcat SWAT vehicle with a price tag of about $500,000. The council voted to add the measure to the agenda for a vote in two weeks.