By Mark S. Kenna
Sept. 27, 2013. A 1980s-model armored four-wheel-drive vehicle called Peacekeeper recently found it’s way into the hands of the Watauga County Sheriff’s Office from the High Point Police Department.
The 8,500 pound armored vehicle is outfitted with a hydraulic battering ram system that can be mounted to the front of the vehicle, bulletproof glass (up to a certain caliber), gun ports, steel armor, a winch and a turret system up top that provides access to the outside from the top of the vehicle.
Peacekeeper is useful for situations such as high-risk search warrants, barricaded suspects, retrieving a civilian or down officer and as concealment and cover from gunfire, said Travis Stroud, Captain of the High Point Police Department.
“It’s a good tool; it was very effective for breaching doors,” Stroud added.
The Watauga County Sheriffs Office is happy to have the Peacemaker.
“This is just a transfer from one agency from another,” said Len Hagaman, Watauga County Sheriff.
“I think they did that in response to when we lost an officer. It’s a great gesture and we appreciate what they did.”
Hagaman mentioned the possibility of making the Peacekeeper available for training to Avery County Sheriff’s Office and Caldwell County Sheriff’s Office.
“If they needed it we could send it to them though mutual aid,” Hagaman said.
Avery County Sheriff Kevin Frye believes that the Peacekeeper will be of great assistance if a problem occurs in the High Country.
“From what I understand, that is going to be a great thing to have in this area,” Frye said. “It will end up being a wonderful tool here in the High Country in case we have some problems.”
But Peacekeeper is not a luxury vehicle. The floor is rusted steel and in some places there is broken glass.
High Point Police Department received Peacekeeper in 1995 from Law Enforcement Support Services after it was used on a U.S. Air Force Base. Before High Point Police Department gave away the Peacekeeper, they received a Lenco BearCat armored vehicle.