The new Alaska State Trooper military grade tactical response vehicle (TRV) delivered to the Peninsula earlier this year has already proven its effectiveness in protecting officers and saving lives in recent situations. According to Alaska State Troopers Deputy Commander at the Soldotna Post Lt. Dane Gilmore the purpose of the vehicle is to transport the special emergency team when necessary and provide ballistic protection for the officers inside thereby reducing the need for the use of deadly force when responding to an armed confrontation, “By having this vehicle available in the Homer situation we were able to pull within clear visibility of the residence where we needed to contact folks at and it made it clear so there was no question in anyone’s mind that the police were on the scene and able to remain safe inside the vehicle with ballistic protection from where we could facilitate negotiation with the individual to get him to surrender with no one getting hurt,” Lt. Gilmore told a recent joint meeting of the Kenai and Soldotna Chamber of Commerce.
After an update by Lt. Gilmore luncheon guests were invited to take an up close look at the TRV, given a demonstration of the onboard robot and even tried on some of the protective gear worn by tactical response teams. “The robot is essentially a camera equipped with a microphone that allows us to look and figure out what is going on in a situation without exposing law enforcement personnel to actual risk when that’s occurring. We then can negotiate through the robot being able to talk through it and hear through its sensors. It’s not big, but it’s not covert, it’s obvious that it’s there and has already proven effective in Palmer in getting a person to surrender and by sending the robot in no one was hurt and that is what this technology and equipment was designed for to make things safer for everyone,” explained Lt. Gilmore.
While the TRV is an armored vehicle, it is not an armored vehicle according to Lt. Gilmore, “The only weapons are what Troopers generally would have otherwise, there are no weapons mounted to the vehicle or no place to mount weapons on the TRV. It does have a ram attached to the front that enables us to force our way through doors, but in a much more controlled fashion than if we were to use a person on foot and then it has an enhanced PA system that allows us to negotiate with people or get their attention with good old fashioned sirens or annoying noises,” he said. Special training has been required for the new vehicle to get use to its operation and highway maneuverability, “At our annual training this summer we also were trained in its use to solve problems and best apply its advantages. I feel the equipment is a significant enhancement to safety all the way around in Alaska having one located in each of our hub locations so they can be deployed in a timely manner,” added Lt. Gilmore. There are three Tactical Response Vehicles now in Alaska.