Bangs to replace truck totaled after DWI accident

The Brownwood Police Department will soon unveil its new armored vehicle, which BPD Chief Terry Nichols said the city received earlier this month.

Nichols said the new armored vehicle is currently receiving mandatory maintenance before it goes into the field, and he is currently working with the Brownwood Chamber of Commerce to organize an unveiling ceremony at a later date.

“What we just took custody of this week was an armored vehicle. It has been one of our needs for a long, long time,” said Nichols during the Brown County Republican Women’s Club meeting last Friday. “I was speaking at a police chief’s conference last spring, and I was talking about S.W.A.T stuff with other chiefs, and I was pining about not having an armored vehicle. They’re very expensive. If you want to buy one, then they’re $4 million or more. I was wining about not having one and we needed one.”

Nichols said it was his conversation last spring caught the ear of deputy chief from the Mansfield Police Department, who called in late December inquiring if the BPD still needed an armored vehicle. Having just procured their new truck from the military, the MPD offered their truck to the BPD free of charge.

“We need that asset in this part of the state. If something goes bad, then we need a vehicle to protect our officers and protect you,” Nichols said. “We were waiting on the military to come up with excess ones, but the wait is about a mile long … We had some folks from the sheriff’s department go up there. Assistant Chief (James) Stroope and some of my guys from Mansfield went up there and looked at it. It’s an old Brinks truck that’s retrofitted and armored. It has a brand-new transition in it and runs perfect. It’s a beast.” 

Nichols said the armored vehicle is currently in the BPD shop being retrofitted to suit the needs of the BPD as well as the Brown County Sheriff’s Department. Once it hits the road it will be part of a joint operations S.W.A.T. team brought about as part of an agreement between Nichols and Brown County Sheriff Vance Hill.

“We’ve been working together on a tactical team for a while, ever since I got here,” Nichols said. “It has taken time on our end, but his guys were squared away and good to go. It took time for my guys to get up and running … We’re both too small to do it by ourselves.”

The BPD and BCSO are not the only law enforcement entities getting new wheels in the near future. During Monday’s Bangs City Council meeting, Bangs Police Department Chief Jorge Camarillo and Mayor Eric Bishop announced the city is tying up loose ends to replace a vehicle totaled by an alleged drunk driver during a Dec. 15 of 2018. While conducting a traffic stop the driver rear-ended Bangs PD Officer Corey Lockett’s cruiser and Lockett received minor injuries in the process. Lockett, who attended Monday’s meeting, seems fully recovered and the BPD now looks to bring its fleet to the same state.

“It’s $32,000, but the told me the light bar will not fit the new truck. The tool boxes will not fit the new truck,” Camarillo said. “The tool boxes are no good and a lot of equipment will not fit the new truck because the old one was a [2016] and the new one is a 2019.”

Mayor Bishop requested the city council approve allowing him to spend the $26,338 the city received from its insurance company as well as additional costs related to retrofitting the vehicle with similar equipment to the vehicles the BPD has in its fleet. The council unanimously approved Bishop’s request.