The Santa Barbara County Sheriff ’s Special Enforcement Team is using two Lenco Bearcat vehicles to help rescue people from their homes. The agency took possession of these armored personnel carriers, used by the military, in November 2017. The vehicles were also used during the Thomas Fire, but this is the first time they are being used for evacuation and rescue.

Santa Barbara County Sheriff ’s Office Sgt. Joe Schmidt said of the vehicles, “[f]ortunately, it’s a four wheel drive truck with a lot of ground clearance, so we’re really able to go over through thick mud over boulders and access neighborhoods that were affected by the mudslides and get to people’s homes and help evacuate and rescue them out of their homes.”

The Bearcats have enabled the team to rescue around 20-25 people and animals so far.

By Sarah Hermina


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