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Concord Chief Apologizes for Armored Vehicle Grant Comments

Duval: Free State Project, Occupy “are not terrorists”; but Bearcat is needed to replace aging Peacekeeper.

Concord Police Chief John Duval talks about the Bearcat request controversy. Credit: Tony Schinella
Concord Police Chief John Duval talks about the Bearcat request controversy. Credit: Tony Schinella

John Duval, the chief of the Concord Police Department, has come under fire in recent weeks for requesting that the Concord City Council accept a $258,000 federal grant to purchase a Lenco Bearcat armored vehicle for the department, a move that some have called “militarizing” local police.

Duval stated that the city needed the Bearcat to replace a three-decade-old USAF Peacekeeper, a similar vehicle, which was obtained by the department in 1981 through a surplus military equipment grant program. If approved, the Bearcat would be used by the Central New Hampshire Special Operations Unit, a SWAT team of sorts for a number of towns from Concord up I-93 to Lincoln, to be used in certain enforcement situations.

In the grant application, Duval wrote that he was concerned that a number of groups, including the Free State Project and Occupy New Hampshire, “presented daily challenges” and that home ground clusters of anti-government in nature pose problems for police forces, including Concord’s.

The comments have sparked outrage from both organizations as well the New Hampshire Civil Liberties Union and the editorial page of the New Hampshire Union Leader. An online petition is also circulating calling on the council to reject the proposal and for the resignations of Duval, City Manager Tom Aspell, and Deputy City Manager Brian LeBrun. 

While he stands by the basic premise that there are situations where the Bearcat is needed in the Central NH ops unit, Duval apologized for any offense citing the groups may have caused. He said that he was limited to three pages of space to explain why the unit needed the Bearcat and that limited the amount of text he was able to offer in the request.

“The three organizations that I mentioned … I do not believe they are terrorist groups,” Duval said. “I don’t know how clearer I can say that. I don’t believe that they are … it was a poorly worded sentence and paragraph and I’m sorry for that.”

Duval said the “intent of using them as example” was that there are people in the community who are politically “polarizing” who “attach themselves” to the otherwise law abiding groups and have caused situations that are lethal and disturbing that concern law enforcement.

“That was the intent of the following words, that they are ‘home grown clusters,’” he said. “There are individuals, who, in their own mind, rally themselves and identify themselves to this particular cause or that and take their behaviors and their views to an extreme level, that are criminal in nature, that cause disruption with quality of life and lethal situations in this country and we’ve seen that in a variety of different ways, for whatever reasons.”

Duval said the Bearcat was used to transport people from one place to another during extreme situations where officers would be in danger. Concord has been a part of the Central New Hampshire Special Operations Unit since 2007 when the department decided it would be better and more affordable, and has brought about a number of incidents ending safely, he said. Duval added that law enforcement needed to be prepared "for the rare situations" when the Bearcat was needed. 

The Concord City Council will decide on Aug. 12, whether or not to accept a federal grant to purchase the Bearcat. 

Brian Blackden August 07, 2013 at 04:26 PM
I find it highly interesting that the State Police have such a unit and, according to my conversation with the State Police today, that in ANY situation that meets the criteria for needing the use of the State Police SWAT team or their resources, if asked, would be dispatched for use in ANY community in the state. Considering we have a NHSP Lenco in Concord, wouldn't this be duplicitous and just a way to get another military grade vehicle into civilian police hands? I understand there may be a jurisdictional dance going on here and Concord may not want to lose command, but they use the State Police for plenty of mutual aid almost daily now, so why wouldn't they in a crisis situation, like they would in a bomb disposal matter?
Concord Resident August 07, 2013 at 04:49 PM
Almost daily Mr. Blackden? That's absolutely false. You are correct to say there are jurisdictional issues to be determined, but to say the NHSP assists CPD on a daily basis is downright false. Answer me this? It's okay for Concord Fire to purchase multi-million dollar equipment but its not okay for CPD to purchase tools? Is it okay for Manchester PD to buy these tools? You are a hypocrite.
JPF36 August 07, 2013 at 04:49 PM
Brian, It's becaue Chief Duval has his mind set on the SHINY NEW TOY and as he has proven he will SAY and DO ANYTHING to make it happen. Who cares what Constitutional Rights of the Citizens of NH he has to step on along the way. DUVAL NEED TO STEP DOWN. Period.
Isaiah Goodwin August 07, 2013 at 08:16 PM
This is quite clear that he believes in following the corrupt ways the country is going. It really doesn't matter what he says we all now know he is breaking his oath to the American people. He is standing with the bad guys and not the people he works for. He wants to get rid of freedom of speech. I have seen protests at the state house, and you can't get more peaceful than that. Concord is a great town, but if you have someone leading other officers to think this way, than it will become a police state. That is the last thing anybody in Conord wants to have happen. I think the offiers in Concord are great and friendly, and help people all the time. We don't want NH to become bad over a few that want to side with corruption.
Brian Blackden August 07, 2013 at 08:21 PM
@Concord Resident: I do not believe I am false in my statements. There are jurisdictional issues and the NHSP are in Concord on a daily basis whether it be stopping cars, chasing moose, or assisting in bar fights etc. A simple listening to the CPD and NHSP radio will explain that easily enough. It is fine for CFD to buy equipment as it is usually budgeted through capital expenditures and is earmarked through planning over the years by setting monies aside annually for future purchases. It is more than OK for CPD to do the same and we see that by the new cruisers recently put into use. Manchester has a better argument for a BearCat due to actual shootings, murder, 1st degree assaults and proximity to the NHSP Lenco in Concord. My issue is that I don't believe we need a BearCat in Concord. If we did, we could easily use the NHSP one that is minutes away. I actually spoke to Chief Duval about what I believe is foolish use of the money for the BearCat. He asked me what I would do instead. I told him it would be tactically better to have officers protected with body armor than a BearCat. This is my reasoning: If the BearCat pulls up to a shooting call and does not know where the shooter is, they have to exit the vehicle making themselves targets. If someone was armed with a 30-06 it would go through the standard level IIIA armor worn by most officers. Instead of being protected while only in a vehicle, for $265K you can outfit 50 officers with level IV armor which will stop the 30-06 round and smaller. This makes sense because most people don't have 3-12K to buy a .50 cal rifle but may have a few hundred to 1K to have a variety of rifle rounds from .223 to 30-06 that will penetrate standard issue body armor (Any normal hunting round will do this). So I think it is wiser to use the $265K grant expenditure on body armor that will protect many officers from the gunfire they should expect than a handful of officers from .50 cal gunfire they will likely never encounter but only if they stay inside the BearCat will they be safe from it anyway. This is solid tactical officer safety thinking, and if anyone does not think so they have misinformation or are on the bandwagon of just wanting an armored truck. I am therefore not a hypocrite at all, but actually someone who has thought this out and come up with reasonable solutions instead of angry kneejerk reactions. PS. Carl Drega used a .223 and he was in the woods where no BearCat would have been able to have access to him. So, I think my thoughts and logic by protecting 50 officers over 6-8 is well grounded and thought out. God Bless you anonymoous Concord Resident. Brian.
Brian Blackden August 07, 2013 at 08:45 PM
I have posted more information in my Blog, please see it for bullet comparisons and it should show logical protection and tactics. http://concord-nh.patch.com/groups/brian-blackdens-blog/p/response-to-concord-resident-regarding-the-bearcat
JPF36 August 07, 2013 at 10:01 PM
Concord Resident. What supposed equipment is the Concord Fire Department purchasing that cost's, as you so FICTICIOUSLY put it in the range of "MULTI-MILLION DOLLAR'S" You are more than likely nothing more than a TROLL.
ForThePeople August 07, 2013 at 10:26 PM
How about we just ban guns of a certain ammunition?
JPF36 August 07, 2013 at 11:01 PM
FTP, Wow, you should run for President.
Anonymous August 07, 2013 at 11:27 PM
Susan Cummings posts: Chief Duval is correct in his statements, and I applaud him for saying so. I would not have apologized at all. Facts are facts, and this information is knowm nationwide...by all Chiefs and Police Departments...give him and the department whatever they need to protect themselves and the law-abiding citizens. Actually, I would advise all police departments to just go home and be with your families, and let our military take care of the problem...it is within their jurisdiction. Marshal Law? Depends on what end of the law your on...
Brian Blackden August 08, 2013 at 08:07 AM
@ Kevin, First off your theory of protection is flawed in the first instance when you state the need to protect themselves and the law abiding citizens. The police have NO afirmative duty according to the Supreme Court to protect anyone. Yes, ANYONE. So, on that theory going further when you want to send them home, then you make a perrfect case case for the 2nd Amendment crowd to have arms to protect themselves as the military cannot act on US soil until it is turned into a police state, and I hope you aren't suggesting that communism feature take place. I am confused as to what side YOU are on?...
Marty August 08, 2013 at 10:20 AM
@JPF36, thanks for the link to the actual application. Per the form, section I is limited to a maximum of three pages. This was presented as 11 line items (A-K) and less than 2.5 pages were used. While I agree with Duval that the three page limit may have limited his response, he didn't maximize what was availability to him. Also, for those that haven't read his reference to the three organizations (or only read the excerpts), here's the actual text from the application: ~~~~ "B. The State of New Hampshire's experience with terrorism slants primarily towards the domestic type. We are fortunate that our State has not been victimized from a mass casualty event from an international terrorism strike however on the domestic front, the threat is real and here. Groups such as the Sovereign Citizens, Free Staters and Occupy New Hampshire are active and present daily challenges. Outside of the officially organized groups, there are several homegrown clusters that are anti-government and pose problems for law enforcement agencies. As for all-hazard risks, New Hampshire is susceptible to man-made disasters, weather related incidents or CBRNE events. Because of this, our Unit researched existing "Specialized Response and Rescue Vehicles" which would make our response possible to such dangerous events and rescue missions. We currently do not possess such a vehicle. The type of vehicle needed would be capable of deploying bomb, HAZMAT, and special weapons personnel, equipped to detect chemical, biological, and radiological materials as well as explosive gases. This vehicle also needs armor properties to protect these personnel from explosions and hits from multiple projectiles when required to enter "hot zones". The Lenco "BearCat" meets all these requirements. The BearCat has an optional Radiation Detection Package which can detect Alpha, Beta, and Gamma radiation. Another option is the Draeger Explosive Gas Detection System which can detect explosive gases. It is also equipped with W' Mil Spec A461 00 Ballistic Steel rated at a NIJ level IV (.50 Caliber and .30 Caliber AP, State Department Armor Level E). This provides appropriate deflection of blast fragmentation and protection from projectiles." ~~~~ I am not affiliated with any of these organizations at all, but I do not believe it was appropriate to include them on this application. I'm really concerned about our economy and the national debt, and government projects like this simply contribute to this seemingly perpetual hole that we're digging. The main street project is yet another example of our local government wasting federal money -- which comes from *our* pockets (well, for those that pay taxes anyway). How many other towns and cities across the country are doing the same thing?
Brian Blackden August 08, 2013 at 04:25 PM
If anyone would like to see the current unit (the former Boston MA PD vehicle) that is in need of replacement and some of the reasons why, go to this blog post: http://concord-nh.patch.com/groups/brian-blackdens-blog/p/current-central-nh-special-operations-unit
Ben M August 08, 2013 at 07:37 PM
What a bunch of pitiful "BS"! As quoted on the application.... >"The State of New Hampshire's experience with terrorism slants primarily towards the domestic type. We are fortunate that our State has not been victimized from a mass casualty event from an international terrorism strike however on the domestic front, the threat is real and here. Groups such as the Sovereign Citizens, Free Staters and Occupy New Hampshire are active and present daily challenges. Outside of the officially organized groups, there are several homegrown clusters that are anti-government and pose problems for law enforcement agencies."<
Ben M August 08, 2013 at 07:47 PM
There are several homegrown clusters that are "Anti-Government in Concord! I've lived here all my life and i've never heard of them "More BS" to get approval for an unnecessary vehicle. Also the other crap on the vehicle is stated as "OPTIONS". How much more will that cost? If the vehicle gets approved, then the tax payers will have to come up with the money to maintain it. Where are they going to garage it? Will we be on the hook to build and maintain a storage place for it. They keeping all of that secret to spring on us all later with an "Oh by the way"!
Daniel Robert Snodgrass August 09, 2013 at 09:10 PM
dear Everyone, John Duval was a hard working high school student who had a promising career in fast food. When in Concord, shaking hands with Chief of Police John Duval is the same as that ambitious busboy that I hired during a bunch of 80s technology, way before the September 11 attacks. Resume to what's in your job description?
JPF36 August 09, 2013 at 09:16 PM
HUH??? What do you mean by "during a bunch of 80s technology" and "Resume to what's in your job description?" ???? Is this some sort of cryptic code??
JPF36 August 09, 2013 at 10:31 PM
Can anyone Please tell me what are "THESE DAILY CHALLENGES" that Duval is talking about?? Daily?? Really?? Every Day Concord PD deal's with issues from Political groups? Is he talking about issues created by Maggie "Tax & Spend" Hassan??? I could believe that.
Concord Resident August 11, 2013 at 01:33 PM
Beep, Beep, Beep... That's the sound of the BearCat backing up into the CPD garage. http://www.wmur.com/news/nh-news/Chief-David-Mara-discusses-Manchester-shooting/-/9857858/21421194/-/92bfb5z/-/index.html
JPF36 August 11, 2013 at 01:53 PM
I have NO DOUBT that the BearCat for the City of Concord will go through. I also believe that this decision has ALREADY BEEN MADE and that the City Council meeting tomorrow night 8/12/13 at 7pm is being held just to placate the Citizenry of Concord. Concord ISN'T MANCHESTER. When was the last time that the old PEACEKEEPER vehicle (that Chief Duval says needs to be replaced) was used for a call in Concord??? I aslo watched the video of the tragic shooting in Manchester NH today and can anyone tell me why the BearCat was needed in this instance?? There are several regular Police cars already at the scene with Patrol Officers standing around while the BearCat pulled up. It also showed regular patrol offices entering the building prior to Swat being called. It all just seems very curious to me that the Armored Assault Vehicle would be needed since regular cop cars were in the same vicinity.
Drake Titusville August 16, 2013 at 12:52 PM
If what he says is true and that this was nothing but poor word choices, then it was a sad, sorry screw-up-and-a-half. Here's what the Chief of Police wrote about his assessment of the existence of domestic terrorists in New Hampshire: <i>"The State of New Hampshire's experience with terrorism slants primarily towards the domestic type. We are fortunate that our State has not been victimized from a mass casualty event from an international terrorism strike however on the domestic front, the threat is real and here. Groups such as the Sovereign Citizens, Free Staters and Occupy New Hampshire are active and present daily challenges. Outside of the officially organized groups, there are several homegrown clusters that are anti-government and pose problems for law enforcement agencies."</i> There's no way to read that paragraph without determining that the writer is trying to paint all three groups (Sovereign Citizens, The Free State Project, and Occupy New Hampshire) as domestic terrorists. I do not know if he actually believes if those three groups are indeed terrorist organizations. But I do believe he did his best to try and paint a picture via the text of the application, trying to convey the existence of some urgent and dire need for this armored vehicle. So he grasped at straws to try and come up with a fictitious scenario of there being three general categories of barbarians all around Greater Concord who threaten the peace and safety of all good cops and citizens alike. He plugged in the names of three organizations and called them a "daily challenge" in direct relation to his perceived need of a tool to combat domestic terrorists. If he couldn't see this level if anger and retaliation as a result his words, he's naive and should resign.
Brian Blackden August 17, 2013 at 08:16 PM
The aging Peacekeeper, I understand is outside Bradford PD for viewing, just like the SOU Command Unit outside Chichester PD. One would think like the NEW BEARCAT they want would be in buildings to they don't deteriorate due to weather conditions. I think the grant said the Bearcat has to be in a climate controlled building.
Brady Hull August 18, 2013 at 01:36 PM
This man needs to be FIRED! NOW!
Brady Hull August 18, 2013 at 01:46 PM
AMERICANS ARE SOOOO EASILY CONTROLLED and DUPED! There are TERRORIST groups say in Spain. ETA. The police do not use such tactics and they have had more attacks than the U.S. The citizens of the U.S. are BORN COWARDS! A terrorist attack like the one in BOSTON, is simply a CRIME...PERIOD! When Timothy McVeigh bombed the gov´t building in Oklahoma in 1995, NOBODY dared think about these types of tactics. He was caught and punished...case closed. SO WHY all of this MILITARIZATION of the POLICE SERVICES...for what SINISTER PURPOSE...hmmm...the police already have WAY TOO MUCH POWER and they have been running AMOK with it for DECADES! The politicians want this because then they can CONTROL....ABSOLUTE CONTROL...the population and strike FEAR in the citizens to NEVER PROTEST and PROTECT their CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS! The nation is now MORE DANGEROUS than IRAN, NORTH KOREA, CUBA and many African and Middle Eastern nations PUT TOGETHER. Must I remind you all of the PRIVATE "SLAVE" JAILING SYSTEMs across the nation based on profits at .18 cents an hour wage to compete with the CHINESE? WHAT we have here is the military complex RUNNING OUT OF NEW WARS to create overseas so they plan is to flood the STATES with weapons of WAR to keep making profits. The same as the GUN INDUSTRY. They have been successful in creating the STAND YOUR GROUND laws in order to get the American public to think that each individual is a COLD WAR adversary. If I have my gun and you yours we will not shoot each other. ASSININE BULLSHIT! Why? Because like the military complex, they too are NOT seeing any more profits from gun sales overseas....MUST PEOPLE are no longer interested in WAR so they are in a jam. And since they cannot change their industries to create something else, they have to come up with new ideas to STRIKE FEAR in the people to ARM! Dare I say MAD (Mutual Assurred Destruction!)..remember that ....DOWN TO THE INDIVIDUAL LEVEL! AWESOME MADNESS! FIGHT AMERICAN PEOPLE....DRIVE THESE PEOPLE DOWN TO DESTRUCTION...I SAY HELL NO TO THIS...NEVER!
John Edward Royal August 18, 2013 at 05:02 PM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Equc9A1pqQk&feature=share This doesn't surprise me in the least. This has been building since the sixties. When The war protesters scared the hell out of governments locally and nationally and the policing of America. Corporations saw an opportunity to exploit for profit. That fear as well as ensuring their supply of low wage or indentured labor by utilizing privatized prisons. ( It's funny that China exploiting prison labor was anti-human rights. But we can do the same and not face political pressure. ) With the marketing of the the first Afghan war and the ?WMDs and the incidence of 9/11 (when the Bush sat on the intelligence information for 7 weeks and did nothing to stop the threat. ) for their benefit of profit ie... Halliburton and others, as well as the politicizing of fear anew American Revolution. Homeland securities explosive comments of our need to be afraid of our veterans because they were able to radicalize a imaginary threat. When in truth they wanted to silence the knowledge they acquired in service. So either they were going to join the militarizing of our public service or suffer loss of standing in the community as well as access in housing and medical care. When in truth the right and corporations were diligently creating an enemy within, of the lower middle class, the poor, the disabled, the outlawed homeless, the unemployed, the immigrants, the non christians, our unions, even women all being villainized and demonizing us as the enemies of the USA. Now we can not protest peacefully without being beaten and shot by they very people that were suppose to protect our rights. They know they can't force the military to cause us harm. ( they fear that the military will organize and help us oppose them. ) The Republican party their sponsors and their domestic and foreign allies have no less of the intention then to Create a Civil war in America for their profit. That will do no less then kill and imprison billions world wide. Today it might be to late to stop them or reverse the ALEC influenced legislation. The Republican party and their propaganda machines need to know we won't stand with their agenda or their lies. The President has no control over Homeland security CIA or the NSA they are rouge agencies infiltrated with agents for the benefit of corporated interests. It was set up long before he came into office. The republican house is making sure he stays at arms length and out of the loop. So yes I question the need of a Bearcat in the hands of a city that already declared their homeless as criminals and undesirable instead of taking responsibility and assisting homeless families and individuals with a emergency shelter year round. put that money toward solving problems instead of manufacturing paranoid fantasies of governmental overthrows.
John Edward Royal August 18, 2013 at 05:27 PM
Occupy are determined to be a non violent organization and has very innovative methods to protest yet except for Federal, State and local law enforcement that insert agents to undermine and instigate violence from within they have maintained a stand of non violence, There have been others organized to exploit protests Like in California Dressed in black with ski masks that burned neighborhoods Possibly connected with law enforcement to turn the general populace against Occupy. Occupy the next morning went and help clean up the mess and assisted business owners to repair damage and to reopen their businesses within days. Occupy is not a terrorist organization at least in this country. yet the Tea Party occupy public places and are armed to the teeth when they protest and even threaten violence here and their planned marches elsewhere. I don't see police beating their 60 year old disable women in that group like they beat and mace and arrest occupy protesters who insist that the wall street and government receive the criminal investigations and prosecution they deserve.
JPF36 September 04, 2013 at 06:17 PM
Why haven't there been any charges filed against Chief Duval for INTENTIONALLY LYING ON A FEDERAL GRANT APPLICATION?? Since when is an apology for breaking the law acceptable? So I guess the next time someone INTENTIONALLY lies on say a Federal background check for a firearm that all they have to do is apologize and all is forgiven?? That isn't the case so why is this treated any differently??? He LIED AND SHOULD BE HELD ACCOUNTABLE Plain and simple. I guess there really is a DOUBLE STANDARD,
Alex Langlois September 20, 2013 at 12:55 PM
This guy should step down from his position... and perhaps move to Russia or China and be a Police Cheif over there.. where the Police State Mentality is alive and well and he can feel more at home. I'm sure he will have hundreds of military vehicles, planes, bombs, and bullets to use against the local citizens at a whim.
robo hiker September 21, 2013 at 05:34 AM
Why would Concord Police need to repsond to an event in Sugar Hill, I thought that's what the State Police are for? Thank You
robo hiker September 21, 2013 at 05:40 AM
Tin soldiers and Nixon coming. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YnOoNM0U6oc

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