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Police swap SWAT units

Main Street Collision body techs Scott Brown and Alan Black work on the Oak Harbor’s newly acquired Dodge SWAT unit. Main Street Collision is donating its services to the city by removing dents and applying a fresh coat of black paint.  - Jenny Manning  / Whidbey News-Times
Main Street Collision body techs Scott Brown and Alan Black work on the Oak Harbor’s newly acquired Dodge SWAT unit. Main Street Collision is donating its services to the city by removing dents and applying a fresh coat of black paint.
— image credit: Jenny Manning / Whidbey News-Times

Lighter armor,

more visibility

Oak Harbor will “armor down” and “vision up” in an armored vehicle trade with Skagit County.

The vehicle switch, approved by the City Council at its Sept. 2 meeting at City Hall, gives the go-ahead for the Police Department to move forward with its plans to acquire a 1990 Dodge SWAT unit, also called a Peacekeeper, from Skagit County in exchange for the city’s 1993 Cadillac SWAT unit.

Police Chief Rick Wallace described the Cadillac as an armored personnel vehicle, “capable of withstanding all kinds of ammunition.”

Minimal driver visibility, which caused logistical issues, left the vehicle relatively unused since the city acquired it from Washington State Federal Surplus more than five years ago.

“We weren’t able to use it as much as we would have liked,” he said. Because of limited driver visibility, it was difficult to operate safety, Wallace said.

“It was really more or less overkill,” he told the council.

The Dodge unit that will replace the Cadillac has a lower armor rating than its predecessor, but still has a high enough rating, Wallace said. Because the new vehicle drives like a truck, it will be easier to incorporate into the department’s needs.

“We’re certainly going to use our Peacekeeper more,” he said.

The city has returned the Cadillac to the Washington State Federal Surplus, which will, in turn, lend the tank to Skagit County. In return, Skagit County transferred the Dodge to the city of Oak Harbor.

Since its arrival in Oak Harbor, the Dodge SWAT unit has been through public works for welding work and is currently at Main Street Collision Center in Coupeville for a new coat of paint.

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