Three police departments in Northwest Indiana have found a creative way to save hundreds of thousands of dollars on new SWAT vehicles by leasing them from Brinks Security and collaborating with the Local Iron Workers 395 Apprenticeship School in Lake Station, Ind. to outfit the vehicles.
Currently three local police departments have already jumped on the armored bandwagon; Lake Station, Munster and Portage.
The initiative has reaped savings for the police departments: They acquired the vehicles for little more than the cost of the steel and other parts, while on the open market, armored vehicles like the Brinks trucks can cost as much as $300,000. In this program, however, each department only had to spend about $2,500 on parts and paint.
“Iron Workers 395 is always proud to do things that help our community. This project was a really interesting one that engaged our apprentices and got them excited, and we were happy to work on something that went to support our local law enforcement agencies,” said Doug Strayer, business manager for Local 395.
Master Ironworker and 395 Instructor Richard Hertaus said, “The nature of our business in ironworking is safety. Safety is the number one priority that we’re teaching our apprentices, and in a way, this whole project with these SWAT vehicles is about safety. We’re working to ensure the safety of these officers, who in turn work to protect our entire community.”
“We want these officers, and our students, to have confidence when they go to do their jobs, to be able to perform their jobs, and return home,” Heratus said. “On this project, our students were practicing many of their usual skills, cutting, welding, measuring, and things like that, but this just happens to be placed in a different format.”