Calgary police roll out armoured vehicle for high-risk calls

Calgary city police's newest crime-fighting tool is a $250,000 armoured vehicle to be used for dangerous calls.

Calgary city police's newest crime-fighting tool is a $250,000 armoured vehicle to be used for dangerous calls.

The Canadian-made Armet Balkan MK7 will allow members of the tactical unit to safely approach an area where a suspect may have a firearm or other weapons, Insp. Barry Clark told reporters on Monday.

The new vehicle is replacing an older-model military personnel carrier that the force has been using since the 1960s but found too difficult to maintain.

Police said incidents involving firearms are becoming more frequent in the city. The tactical unit responded to 157 high-risk situations that might have involved weapons in the first 11 months of last year.

Although the new vehicle was officially rolled out on Monday, police said they had already used it twice in the past week.

On Friday, police responded to a call about a domestic dispute in the city's southeast and arrested a man said to be armed with a knife. Clark said the vehicle allowed officers to pull up close to the house without being in harm's way.

The Armet is navy blue and looks like a boxy, oversized sport utility vehicle. It's equipped with bullet-proof glass, standard police lights and sirens, and can carry eight tactical unit members.