South Carolina sheriff buys tank to conduct raids


Don't even think about running an illegal bingo game in Richland County, South Carolina.

The Richland County, South Carolina Sheriff's Department (that's them above) just obtained an armored personnel carrier, complete with a belt-fed, .50-cal turreted machine gun. Sheriff Leon Lott has charmingly named the vehicle "The Peacemaker," and insists that using a caliber of ammunition that even the U.S. military is reluctant to use against human targets (it's generally reserved for use against armored vehicles) will "save lives."
Sheriff Lott's New Toy


  1. Not a tank, to be technical. It’s an armored personnel carrier, which are in use in many cities. However, it does look like it’s got a machine gun, which seems to be “overkill” for civilian peacekeeping.

  2. Sure, it seems like overkill now, but wait till the A-team goes rampant on the streets, then they’ll rub it in our noses.

  3. The comments following the article make it even worse. People appear to have been trained on the .50 by the military detail why it has no place in civilian law enforcement.

    I’m assuming this purchase is yet another brilliant result of the ridiculous “everyone gets an equal share” DHS funding strategy.

  4. Wouldn’t this kind of say, “We’re doing such a bad job of preventing crime, we need to go to the Extreme?”

  5. “everyone gets an equal share” DHS funding strategy.

    Yeah, there are a lot of terrorist targets in Richland County, South Carolina.

  6. This is what is wrong with America. It is the oldest story in the book – the weapons you create eventually end up pointed right back at you.

    WTF does they need with hardware like that, and why happened to police uniforms? And correct me if I’m wrong, but I though civilian vehicles, aircraft, whatever, were not allowed to be armed. The people in them, yes, but not the vehicles.

  7. I can only find old data, but their crime statistics don’t justify this overkill.

    Interesting I did find this:

    In April of this year, Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott was selected to travel with five other law enforcement experts and participate in a week of meetings and panel discussions in Germany; consulting Germany law enforcement on ethics, training, cooperation and approaches to leadership and effective law enforcement techniques.

  8. @ #9 DBARAK, Duh everyone knows that the president Woodrow Wilson boyhood home has been a #1 target for Al-Qaeda for years.

  9. I hear the barrel of the .50-cal makes an awesome bong.

    I’d imagine the drug dealers are gong to move to a neighboring county.

  10. So here’s my practical joke (reality based of course):

    Get them to raid your home, with those mean lookin’ gun wielding cops inside, sneak up behind the contraption and weld the doors shut. Then ride it like a bronco while peeing into the view ports.

  11. Is it even legal for a non-military organization to deploy a .50 cal? Not that this weapon has any utility whatsoever (short of civil war) – I can’t imagine any urban use of a .50 that wouldn’t be a lawsuit farm, probably costing the municipality more than the tank is worth.

  12. It’s probably not a popular idea, being so non-materialist in a materialist (look up the meaning) society, but it’s my theory that there’s pure evil afoot in the country–not the political type, but the traditional version–and that this kind of nonsense is a symptom of it.

  13. This is obviously life imitating art, this has Reno 911 painted all over it. as for the .50 cal, well as much overkill as it is it is pretty funny…think about the last time cops had to open fire on anything that needed more than a pistol. i doubt their going to bounce on down to the local protest and start unloading belt fed rounds into the crowd, maniacal grins on their faces. I wager half the guys there think the .50 cal is overkill, the other half are going to steal the whole thing STRIPES style.

  14. Are they planning to trailer that thing to the raid or what? Tracked vehicles tear the hell out of roads.

    Also, that aluminum tub wont stop even a .30-06.

  15. Are they planning to trailer that thing to the raid or what? Tracked vehicles tear the hell out of roads.

    Also, that aluminum tub wont stop even a .30-06.

  16. This is just more proof that civilian police departments -and their duly elected civilian government overseers- in this country have lost their minds.

  17. As others have said, that’s not a “tank,” that’s an M113 APC. Please correct the title.

    Since the only thing of significance around Richland County is the university in Columbia, maybe it’s meant to “keep the peace” at the next game?

    Clearly it’s a sign that we’ve overshot our military need when that sort of excess is so accessible to civilian authorities without any conceivable purpose or need. What’s next? Tracking illegal immigrants with UCAVs and military-surplus Iroquois helicopters? No wait…

  18. Well, I suppose the horrendous crime rates in Columbia *are* falling. Maybe the governor will let ol’ Leon budget one of these next. What’s the range on a 16-inch naval gun, anyway?

  19. To the .50 calibre – unfortunately, there are probably more than a few citizens who have personal firearms into the calibre. On the other hand, it’s all the more pointless to substitute the entire range of police responses to ‘equal’ force.

    Too bad they didn’t replace it with a water cannon.

  20. “Drug and gambling raids?” They couldn’t even make up some kind of violent offense to stop with that thing?

    This may be a microcosm of everything that is wrong with our country distilled into one purchase.

  21. #27 – Correct me if I’m wrong, but doesn’t the City of Columbia have its own police department? The county mounties’ job is to patrol the part of Richland County beyond the city limits, something they did a rather poor job of when I lived there. I don’t see what they could do with an APC that the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED – the REAL cops, and you know you fucked up if you see SLED in your front yard) doesn’t already do.

  22. if I was a taxpayer in that city/county I’d demand the justification for spending MY money this way. but not just the money. they also need to PROVE that there is the type of crime that requires a big stick like this.

    Sheriff Leon Lott should also host a public measuring of his penis if he hasn’t done it already. which will clearly need a microscope and micro calipers to measure. because clearly the dualy truck he normally drives and blue pills he’s popping isn’t helping. clearly he got himself a tank to deal with his “inadequacy.”

  23. There was a time in the empire when the returning vets would have been offended by this. They would have seen this as a complete abrogation of what they fought to exhaustion for. They would have rightly asked why did they die on Omaha beach, if only to come home to this? They passed.

    Then there was a time in the empire when this would have been laughed at. A true and living example of the irrelevance of the establishment. What folly, what lack of understanding, they would have thought. Man was born to pursue greater heights. They passed.

    Now, in decline, the citizens of the empire take little notice, or rather those that do nod their heads in agreement. The rest shake their heads in disbelief, lumber on, too tired to care and waiting for the next shoe to drop.

    “Overkill” is too kind a word. Absurd is the correct term. And so many of us take “absurd” for status quo, e.g., normality.

  24. Outside of training they’ll never fire the .50 cal. And it’s not like they’ll actually drive the thing to a raid, you can probably hear it coming for six blocks. Not to mention doing that would cost a fortune in gas and maintenance. It’ll make an annual appearance in parades and the occasional middle school Get High on Life-Drugs are Bad thing.

    But the deputies will get to have some fun with it and let’s face it, it’ll probably get him reelected.

  25. This just reminds me of when I overheard my local police department lock the keys to their SWAT team APC inside the APC. By the time they got the spare set to the site, the hostage situation the carrier was dispatched for had been resolved by the police shooting both of them.

  26. “I get the feeling the definition of Domestic Terrorism probably just got a lot more vague.”

    In all seriousness, I wouldn’t be surprised if comment threads like this one are being monitored by the feds.

    “Are they planning to trailer that thing to the raid or what? Tracked vehicles tear the hell out of roads.”

    Not necessarily. I’ve seen a whole convoy of tanks and other tracked National Guard vehicles rolling down a street here in San Diego. I’ve even got a cool picture somewhere that I shot when I worked for a newspaper.

    “Can someone tell them it was the other Georgia that the Russians invaded?”

    Bravo to you for that line! : )

    “if I was a taxpayer in that city/county I’d demand the justification for spending MY money this way. but not just the money.”

    I’d be willing to bet that the APC was either given to them for free or sold at a very low cost.

  27. I, for one, can’t wait for the department Christmas Party. NO messin’ around with the photocopier anymore. This is a big time ‘accident’ waiting to happen!

  28. “Not necessarily. I’ve seen a whole convoy of tanks and other tracked National Guard vehicles rolling down a street here in San Diego. I’ve even got a cool picture somewhere that I shot when I worked for a newspaper.”

    It can take it once, but not on the regular. Not to mention the National Guard units have a significant track budget.

  29. Is the plan really to conduct raids using the thing?
    Criminal #1: Shh! You hear something?
    Criminal #2: You mean kind of like a slow moving piece of extremely heavy equipment coming down the street sort of sound?

    1. You mean kind of like a slow moving piece of extremely heavy equipment coming down the street sort of sound?

      I’ve been on the freeway next to a tank doing 80. That’s 80 miles per hour.

  30. Kind of an old story. So far the only thing this has been good for is local TV news fodder.

    @Steaming Pile, I couldn’t agree more. With SLED keeping plenty of resources less than 20 miles away, it seems like a complete waste of tax payer money. In the event of something APC worthy happening they could easily be called in. If that isn’t enough there is always the National Guard.

    Then again who knows. Perhaps the Cloverfield Monster is planning its assault from Lake Murray and Lott has the inside.

  31. The assertion by the article that the army is reluctant to use .50 cal against humans is incorrect. .50 cal is the favored ammo for snipers. In fact, Wikipedia says:

    A McMillan Tac-50 .50 BMG sniper rifle was used by Canadian Corporal Rob Furlong to bring off the longest-range confirmed sniper kill in history, when he shot a Taliban insurgent at 2,430 meters (2,657 yards/7,972 feet/1.509 miles) during the 2002 campaign in Afghanistan

    The same Wikipedia article also mentions that the .50 cal machine gun is employed by the Coast Guard for drug interdiction and by the NYPD because, well, hey, it’s New York.

    1. They look like extras from some unreleased sequel to “Starship Troopers”…

      Like there could be an unreleased sequel. Aren’t we up to Starship Troopers LXVIII: Dust Bunnies of Klendathu?

  32. Just to keep the trend going, I’m looking forward to the day when state highway patrols can requisition Harriers and Apaches;
    “Pull over… NOW…”
    Interestingly enough, in some postwar Eastern Bloc countries, various pieces of military hardware were used by the “police”. The Czechoslovakians even used surplus RAF Spitfires, though I imagine pulling someone over with one must have been a real bear.

  33. I know the Army used to demilitarize stuff like this for sale to civilian cops because I got stuck on a couple of details doing just that. I wouldn’t be surprised if the 50-cal is inoperable, and the Sheriff just kept it for the intimidation factor. I also wouldn’t be surprised if he got himself a fully operational surplus weapon from the Guard or nearby Camp Jackson due to an oversight.

  34. Gregory Bloom and ConsideredOpinion:

    Yes, plenty of civilians have firearms in that caliber, and the military does use the .50 cal BMG round in some sniper rifles. There is a rather important distinction to be made, however. The firearms that the civilians have and the army uses as a sniper rifle are either bolt action, or semi-automatic. While the semiautomatic can fire rather rapidly, it does not approach the rate of fire that the machine gun can, nor does it have anywhere near the ammunition capacity. The civilian rifles and sniper rifles are designed and used to engage targets at distances in the thousands of yards, in some cases over a mile away. The machinegun mounted on that APC has a rate of fire between 400 and 600 rounds per minute and it’s not set up for any sort of precision/sniping work.

    The rounds themselves are incredibly powerful. The full metal jacketed, lead cored standard rounds would have no problems penetrating steel well over a quarter inch thick, or punching clear through a cinder-block wall with more than enough energy to kill left over. Armor piercing rounds will go through roughly a half inch of solid steel plate with no problem. The round has proved itself capable of being effective against humans and lightly armored targets over a mile away. And, unlike the 12ga shotgun, or the 40mm grenade launcher, there are no less than lethal rounds for the .50 cal.

    Combine the power of those rounds with the rate of fire (600 rounds per minute) and general inaccuracy in the way a machine gun is used, and put that in any domestic law enforcement situation. Sure, maybe you’ll have another guy build himself an armored bulldozer, like the guy in Colorado did, but you’re not going to hit it with every round out of that gun. You’re also not going to move every innocent bystander within a mile plus radius out of harm’s way. The potential for killing somebody is way too high. If they absolutely positively must have the penetrating power of a .50 BMG round, then by all means, give the department a Barrett, for instance. But I can’t think of a single police situation where the use of a .50 cal machine gun will save more lives than it will risk (baring the inevitable zombie apocalypse).

  35. “It can take it once, but not on the regular. Not to mention the National Guard units have a significant track budget.”

    That could be. I only know of the one trip they made, to some sort of recruiting drive or something. Then again, there was the lunatic that stole a tank from the same armory and drove it along city streets and freeways, crushing a few cars along the way for good measure. Ended up throwing a tread and getting shot in the head. You may have seen it on TV, but I wasn’t lucky enough to see it in person. ; )

  36. @ Gregory Bloom 44

    With the exception of your first example everything you’ve mentioned from the wikipedia article are taken completely out of context. So I’ll paste some of it here for clarification for anyone that can’t be bothered reading your link.

    “The U.S. Coast Guard uses .50 BMG weapons for drug interdictions. Effective interdiction requires that personnel on Coast Guard cutters be able to deliver accurate fire to stop high-speed drug runners. Similarly, .50 BMG weapons have attracted attention from law enforcement agencies; they have been adopted by the NYPD. If it becomes necessary to immobilize a vehicle, a .50 BMG round in the engine block will shut it down quickly. If it is necessary to breach barriers, a .50 BMG round will penetrate most commercial brick walls and concrete cinder blocks.”

    I somehow think stopping high speed drug running boats, firing a single round into an engine block or sniping someone from a rooftop is probably not the intention for this absurd purchase.

  37. i’m, like, 10% “YES! can giant mechs and ultraman be far behind?!”, and 90% “oh, SNAP! the militias were RIGHT!”. i don’t like them numbers.

  38. Are you sure that isn’t a Blackwater family picnic photo?

    How is a law enforcement agency allowed to even buy a 50 caliber machine gun? They don’t have weapon restrictions? That gun is purely for murdering, it has no secondary purpose. They might as well get a V-2 rocket launcher while they’re at it, or a stockpile of mustard gas.

  39. I’m uncomfortably reminded of the showy “Crack house Raids” held by the Los Angeles Chief of police in Compton in the ’80’s and early 90’s.
    BIG battering rams were used to break down doors while SWAT teams swarmed in and footage was taken.
    What was not mentioned in the news was how many of those houses were really occupied by drug-free elderly couples raising their grandbabies who’d been orphaned by drugs or gang warfare. The police never admitted fault or paid these impoverished families to repair the profound damage to their homes and belongings.
    I work in that community now, and the resentment over those acts of misinformation for politics sake is still fresh and very bitter.
    How many poor politically disenfranchised families are going to have THEIR homes blown up and lose everything because this massive weapon is used due to misinformation?

  40. I feel safer already. Doesn’t it feel like the precursor to an action movie starring Schwarzenegger / Stallone / Willis / Russell, where they single-handedly foil the terrorist / alien / (yes, or zombie) apocalypse, thanks to this ridiculous thing?

    I’ll bet they take turns firing it, if functional, for kicks (cops got some strange needs.)

  41. These guys are just preparing for the robot revolution. A .50 cal is just the thing to stop robots in their tracks. And with zero computer control, Skynet can’t take it over.

  42. @ Antinuous, #49
    The linked article mentions that this APC’s top speed is 30 mph. Not speedy, but not trudging either.
    Don’t sweat it, though, this thing will only show up if you get all six wanted stars.

  43. OMFG. I live in Richland county. I was just noticing today how there seem to be way more police around lately. And now this! To top it all off I’m a total weirdo and I don’t have an ID…you’re making me so paranoid.

  44. I would have a problem if the officers were wearing army camo, which they aren’t. But this is more for show than action. It’s just is not that practical. They are gonna have a hard time chasing down moonshiners with it.

  45. Moonshiners! I didn’t think of that. It solves two problems – you’re far enough out in the country that you can use the machine gun, and you can pinch the ‘shine to fuel the APC! Brilliant!

  46. As far as i know, using 0.50 cal (12.7 mm in EU) is not allowed to use against personnel, only against hardware.

    I don’t know if this applies in the US, or if it applies outside military use, but in all cases, i hope they are not considering targeting personel with this weaponry… if you hit a person, even in a leg, it will simply be torn of…

    Only in the US :)

  47. I would feel so much better if they replaced the belt-fed, .50-cal turreted machine gun with a giant TASER.

  48. #44 – Most snipers and long-range shooters I know don’t prefer the .50. Under 1000 yards most prefer the .308 (where most is 50% or more) because there’s so much great ammo for it and so many good guns.

    Above 1000 yards, opinions vary and people get a little bit wily. Yes, the .50 is super-capable in that range and the Canadians are great with it, but to shoot sub-MOA you are talking about cooking up your own loads at multiple dollars per shot (AFAIK factory .50 is generally crap) and (again, according to the folks I know who shoot it) it’s just not very fun to shoot a lot, certainly not all day long. (Me, I’m partial to .308 for the shorter ranges and .300 WSM for longer, as the latter is still pretty flat approaching 1000 yards and it doesn’t hit back very hard at all.)

    #55 – The key word, which I am guessing you know, is “suppresive fire”, which is what Machine Guns are for. You put big pieces of metal down range fast and make the bad guys duck. While you are doing this you move your infantry fwd to kill the bastards at closer ranges.

    This is the core differentiator to LE uses – if you are engaging in suppresive fire then you are at war.

    For everyone – the main problem with cops with rifles in urban areas is not what they do to the person you are aiming at. A 9mm pistol cartridge will kill me just as dead as a carbine in .556, and really, I’m dead, I don’t care much the size of the bullet that put me there.

    The problem is that rifles are designed to go through stuff – car doors, walls, houses, helicopters, people, hummers, helmets, body armor – and pistol cartridges aren’t.

    Shoot someone with a .50, which is a VERY BIG rifle cartridge, and it will go through, for example:

    > their head (which, by the way, will literally detonate)
    > the door behind them
    > the drywall behind that in the next room
    > out the outside wall of the house (presuming American tract-housing construction)
    > across the street
    > through the outside wall of the NEXT house
    > through the two layers of drywall in the first interior wall
    > through the living room…

    …you get the idea.

  49. Next year they’ll have an aircraft carrier docked in the field across the street from the police station.

  50. Modern urban buildings are transparent to this weapon.
    The American “leadership” is out of control and are scared shitless that people will actually vote ’em out of office. They (Dems and Reps are the same club, no difference in Policy or Outcomes if you elect the one or the other as far as I can see) are using every socio/psycho trick and technique devised in the Departments of your best Universities to fuck their own people.
    That’s why your pres. needs a 300-hundred million dollar personal helicopter but 40% of the pop. get no health care…

  51. The linked article mentions that this APC’s top speed is 30 mph. Not speedy, but not trudging either.

    Minor nitpick, but the WP article claims that the top speed is 66 km/h. That’s about 41 mph if your measurement system is based on dead English kings.

  52. These guys are members of the community? Or a force separate and apart? Looks like the latter to me, an army of occupation…

  53. “Can anyone think of a weapon the police have had that didn’t get used?”

    Yes. Common sense and brains are what leap to the forefront right now.

  54. Sounds like they’re gearing up for some War on Drugs action – where the police serve a no-knock warrant, search the entire premises, and seize anything they damn well want, evidence of actual drugs or not.

  55. If I was a cop in rural America, and my department got an APC with a .50-cal mounted on top, I’d be high as a kite. Of course, after we’d take it out to the firing range & try that machine gun out — you’d see that it really isn’t designed to shoot bowling pins, and you might get concerned on how it chews your shooting range to pieces. You’d start to appreciate how a .50-cal just *doesn’t quite fit* in the civilian law enforcement context. But it is nice to say you have one. And you could use it, but you wouldn’t, because after shooting it you realize you’d end up killing everybody in the neighborhood. Well, you’d actually end up killing lots of civilians within a few square blocks, in front of you. And then the Feds would come and take it away.

    Hey, here are some other things civilian law enforcement shouldn’t have:

    Wire Guided Missiles
    Flame Throwers
    Fuel-Air Bombs
    Vulcan Machine Guns
    Tactical Nuclear Weapons

  56. The .50BMG was originally designed for penetrating light armor (almost a hundred years ago!), but was quickly outclassed by newer and better armor. It was quickly discovered, however, to be quite effective against personnel, and is generally used for that purpose. That’s why Humvees and light armor such as the APC in the photo have crew-served fifties, dual fifties, and even occasionally the totally-awesome quad-fifties mounted.

    Yes, civilians can own .50BMG weapons, INCLUDING machine guns; many people own .50BMG target rifles, and no few own machine guns. The machine guns are heavily restricted and somewhat-heavily taxed. In the 1930’s when the transfer tax was imposed via the National Firearms Act, it was a _very_ heavy tax – these days, $250 is a drop in the bucket compared to the $5000 and up a full-auto weapon of any type is going to cost you.

    Personally, I don’t think the cops need fifties, it being considerable overkill for anything they’ll ever have to do legitimately – and I’m totally envious that these guys have one and I don’t. On the practical side, though, neither these cops nor I can afford to shoot one. .50BMG runs a minimum of $2/round, you go through a lot of rounds very quickly in a machine gun, and I’ll bet there’s not much, if anything, in their budget for the ammo. On the other hand, if the DHS staked them to a grant for the APC, they may be able to get another grant for some ammo…DHS hasn’t so far shown itself to be the sharpest tool in the toolbox, and they might be dumb enough to do this.

  57. Ugly Canuck wrote “That’s why your pres. needs a 300-hundred million dollar personal helicopter but 40% of the pop. get no health care…”

    Strictly speaking the replacement of Marine One is not one helicopter, but 28 helicopters at a cost of $11.2 billion. For perspective, this is almost double the annual budget of the National Science Foundation.

    This purchase reminds me of the APCs guarding the airports in the weeks after 9/11. Just in case Al Qaeda decides to attack with an infantry charge. It is just more security theater.

  58. #29: The difference is that essentially every civilian owner of a .50cal would never point it at another person intentionally, and couldn’t every so so legally.

    Presumably, however, this “law enforcement” agency can foresee a situation where they would do both.

  59. Linked, 100 rounds, 3.05 a round. If you want to save some money, buy in bulk, 1000 rounds for 2.65, per round. This being API, once fired brass. If you can get it. Ooops — there goes the beer budget for several years.

  60. These guys are members of the community? Or a force separate and apart? Looks like the latter to me, an army of occupation…

    Well Canuck, there are still some around those parts who sign their return address with “Occupied Confederated States of America”. Not many, but enough.

  61. hope that asshat mayor in California doesn’t decide he needs one of these to keep those illegal vegetable stands out of business…

  62. Oh, also, replacement barrels cost between 400 – 600 dollars. That is working barrels, not demilled, dummy ones. Simple things, like a replacement barrel support, cost about 400 bucks. You’ll need to get a kit that costs about 300 bucks for basic maintenance (wrenches, extractors, gages, etc.). Expensive to have, expensive to use, expensive to keep working.

  63. there’s supposed to be hundreds of thousands of loose MANPADS circulating. The least of any of them would destroy this vehicle with one shot. Five to ten grand range, bootleg?

  64. Actually this news is not unexpected or strange in a Country where a political party who wants to win the election promises big cuts in social support and, at the same time, promises the biggest investments in military and police…

    US citizens should wake up from the homeland security induced trance…

  65. I think that good ol’ sheriff Lott watched himself a little too much Robocop 2. First binary explosive liquids (a la Die Hard 3), now APCs used for local law enforcement. Does anyone else get the feeling that our national and local security is being run by people who watch a little bit too much TV?

    @#81 The only ones I can think of are their brains (such as they are) or common sense.

  66. an’ jeebus done spake unto Lott:

    Press Release

    Sheriff Leon Lott unveiled the armored personnel carrier (APC), having the Richland County Sheriff’s Department Special Response Team (SRT) demonstrate the functions and abilities of the SRT and APC. Sheriff Lott was accompanied during the press conference today by the South Carolina National Guard who will assist the Sheriff’s Department with training, maintenance and general support for the operation of the APC. The APC was purchased under the “1033 program” which falls under the State Budget and Control Board, General Services Division. The program allows law enforcement agencies to receive military surplus – the Sheriff’s Department pays a fee per year of $2,000 from our general fund budget to acquire access to equipment, worth thousands of dollars on the open market. Sheriff Lott stated that during the Army’s use of the APC, the Federal Government paid over $300,000 for each M113A2 APC. Sheriff Lott stated that “1033 program” is a great resource for improving the effectiveness of the Sheriff’s Department while saving the citizens money (Mr. Ron Cathey runs the 1033 program for South Carolina and his number is (803) 896-7628).

    The armored personnel carrier (APC) will provide additional assets to the Special Response Team (SRT) as they deal with a wide array of threats to our citizens. The Special Response Team involves two dedicated seven-person teams – SRT members are part time and have regular full-time duties. Sheriff Lott stated that the members of SRT have been trained to address barricaded suspects, hostage scenarios, high risk warrants, engage in active counter measures, crowd control, and hostile environmental situations. All SRT operators are required to be Hazardous Material Technicians to better serve the populous in the ever-changing threats to our country — all SRT members are a part of the Richland County COBRA (Chemical, Ordnance, Biological and Radiological) response team as we prepare to protect our citizens from the threat of explosives, chemical hazards or spills, or biological release. SRT utilizes different forms of weaponry (both less-than-lethal and lethal) in order to address any threats to our citizens.

    Sheriff Leon Lott extended his appreciation to the citizens of Richland County and to the State Paper for their contributions in naming the APC (the State held an online search to garner public assistance on naming the APC). The purpose in obtaining this equipment is the protection of life and our protection of our communities – that the mere presence of the APC will prevent loss of life or injury to any and all citizens. Sheriff Lott stated that the name selected from the entries will be “The Peacemaker” because that is the APC’s purpose and the bible refers to law enforcement in Matthew 5:9 “Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God”. Sheriff Lott hopes to always bring resolution to all conflict through peaceful means.

  67. Jaywalking, toiletpapering houses, and eating too many donuts in public in Richland county just got a LOT more dangerous.
    What next? The Richland County DeathStar?

  68. .50 Cal is illegal in Ca for civilian use…but…in other states, like my home state of Florida, it’s fair game.

    For that area I do think it is overkill…if it was a “metropolis” where you might have a group of nut jobs with assault rifles taking over a building, yes…but…where most of your disputes are over who’s goat is who’s? Yeah…

    I’m actually very pro gun and work with the NRA and some youth groups teaching proper firearm handling and safety…and all the cops who have ever helped us out…well…let’s just say you don’t really have to worry about ever getting hit by one. Most 9 year-olds picking up a gun for the first time have better accuracy.

  69. Ah, yes, gun control. The idea that people like Sheriff Lott are entitled to a monopoly on stuff like this.

  70. Former Army officer here. My platoon had 4 of these M2 .50 cal machineguns. There is absolutely no reason why the police need these ever.

    If they fired it at a house, it would have no problem penetrating that house, the one behind it, the one across the street from that one.

    Enough of these wanna-be toughguy cops.

  71. @97 – Please prove that there is ANYONE around “these parts” that signs their return address with “Occupied Confederated States of America.” (By the way there isn’t).
    Once again….I live in Richland county and none of you guys saying stuff like this have any idea what you are talking about. I moved up north for a while and nothing is any different any where. Everyone has the internet, so the same shit is going on everywhere. There is no “country” or arguments over goats in Richland county. Once you get outside of the city it’s all just gross suburban sprawl – tons of strip malls, etc.
    It’s funny how there’s no one from “down South” making ignorant generalized comments about the north on here like you guys are the other way around. Hey, maybe I’ll do it:
    If everything is so great and not-backwards up there how come your police officers are always killing unarmed black people and ours aren’t?

  72. Back when I lived in New Jersey in the 80s-90s, the friendly suburban town of Middletown had a tank. When I first heard about it, I assumed it was some kind of aquatic assault vehicle for dragging things out of the swamps, but no, it’s apparently an armored personnel carrier.

    The story behind it, according to one of my coworkers who lived in the town and has seen the thing, was that back in the 70s, when there was a lot of political unrest in Puerto Rico, the police chief (who was trying to live up to his namesake Joe McCarthy) was worried that the Puerto Ricans who lived in the towns along the shore might get uppity and riot and attack the local naval base and steal the nucular weapons, and the town had better be able to defend them. As of the early 90s, Ralph said nobody’d driven it in a while and the wheels had sunk a foot or so into the mud where it was parked, and Joe had had to retire after too many incidents of cops beating up kids.

  73. Huh.

    I emailed Lott and pointed out that this was a ridiculous waste of taxpayer dollars, and that he was a sheriff, not a military commander. I said that I was a former resident of Richland County, now with no intention of ever returning. I confess to employing two words of (very mild) snark.

    Lott’s one-word response? “Good.”

    So he’s also a skilled diplomat. Spelled “arrogant ass.”

  74. Oh, it’s also worth noting that I mentioned this issue to a friend who owns a home in Richland County and is down there about half the week. In his words, Lott is widely regarded as “a laughingstock,” completely independent of the APC purchase. So, you know, take that into consideration. :)

  75. My wife, we live in Virginia now, who spent her whole life in the northeast, thought she had entered a third world country when we vacationed in central South Carolina this year. A state that spends more energy on things like this and flying the confederate flag, instead of investment in its undereducated masses (by and large African-Americans) and deserved everything and more that Sherman brought down on them.

  76. @199:
    “t’s fnny hw thr’s n n frm “dwn Sth” mkng gnrnt gnrlzd cmmnts bt th nrth n hr lk y gys r th thr wy rnd.”

    Yh, thr’s nn n *hr*, ‘cs ths st s fll f hpps. Y hv t g lswhr fr tht. Lk frrpblc r lttlgrnftblls.

    Wlcm t th ntrnt. Sm sts r fll f lbrls. Sm r fll f cnsrvtvs. nd thy’v ll gt thr shr f ntjbs.

  77. I presume they got this thing – I mean, the M113 is Vietnam-era – on the cheap. So let’s assume the up-front cost of The Peacemaker was $0.00.

    But tracked vehicles are a lot more expensive to maintain than wheeled vehicles, and you can’t just drive down to the local garage for a suspension tuneup. They also damage road surfaces (as tracked vehicles go, the M113 should be nicer to asphalt than your average main battle tank, but still.) Tracked vehicles are made that way because they give better performance off road – but Richland County is, as one poster mentioned, pretty urbanized.

    The shortcomings of the M2 .50 cal have already been pointed out.

    So it’s pretty much useless as a law enforcement vehicle. It’s pretty expensive, even if it was free.


  78. I live in a pretty rural of Ohio, and a neighbor of mine recently traded an old tractor (I did say rural area, didn’t I?) for some sort of crazy .50 cal sniper rifle looking thing. It comes with it’s own tripod and weighs like 60-70 lbs, and has a scope the size of my arm. He said he could easily hit stuff a mile away with it.

    Recently while walking around my fields, I found a tree stand hidden away in a mass of trees, facing my house, about a half a mile away. Should I be worried?

    If a guy from Ohio gets sniped while grilling hotdogs in his backyard, well, you read it here first.

  79. So it seems like several folks here know something about these APCs, out of curiosity, in what sort of situation would having one of those actually make sense from a tactical standpoint?

    I’m not talking overkill here, I’m wondering what sort of situation would someone look at and realistically think “Wow, I’m really glad we have an APC, it’s exactly what we need to deal with _______” (factoring in its much higher total cost of ownership and various physical limitations like the treads possibly trashing streets etc…)

  80. Anyone can buy most anything if they go through a rather trivial registration process. Heck, I’ve got a .73 Caliber gun at home. Of course, it normally just seeds bird shot loads…

    Honestly, I’d rather they had this .50 cal gun than something else, because they’re never going to dare use something like that.

  81. DRAGONVPM – “So it seems like several folks here know something about these APCs, out of curiosity, in what sort of situation would having one of those actually make sense from a tactical standpoint?

    I’m not talking overkill here, I’m wondering what sort of situation would someone look at and realistically think “Wow, I’m really glad we have an APC, it’s exactly what we need to deal with _______” (factoring in its much higher total cost of ownership and various physical limitations like the treads possibly trashing streets etc…)”

    In my humble opinion, there are only a few ‘reasonable’ uses for an M113 in a civilian environment, from a police perspective – they are:

    1. Intimidation (useful in any stressful confrontation, especially where the police are the 3rd or 4th party to a potential conflict – and they need to visually demonstrate the ante for a clash)

    2. Low-velocity missile risk (think riots and thrown rocks) – the police lose in terms of community-support (think early Northern Ireland), but they at least gain a tactical advantage in relatively safe transport through a hostile area.

    3. Outright riot, and the need to produce an instant defensible space or armored egress. Of course, public endangerment in such driving is increased. Useful against most civilian firearms. That value is diminished by hostile preparation (e.g. IED, molotov’s, etc.). Unfortunately, this means “shock raid” is the natural/logical conclusion for this technology.

    4. If you aren’t particularly moral about this technology, these can function as convenient mobile assassination tools. After all, Diem was killed in one of those.

  82. Addendum:

    I failed to mention the tracked M113 would be useful where an armored car or typical police patrolcar couldn’t manage…such as pushing through improvised barricades, or off-road capabilities.

    Oh, I suppose the M113 would have been useful for the LAPD in that awful shootout they experienced a decade ago. But that sort of thing would either already need numbers and advanced deployment, or be a whole lot faster, to be useful in that sort of event.

  83. still nonsense. If the cops have such determined enemies in this rural backwater then all that will happen one day is Sheriff Lott will answer his doorbell one morning and get a bullet in the face.
    This absurd bit of theater is all about local petty politics aimed at the room temperature IQ vote. Do you see the NYPD employing these against the Mafia?
    Congratulations Lott! You have extended the laughingstock of your person to your entire community.

  84. Takuan – I quite agree, a totally nonsensical police tool.

    Also, there’s a sad kind of determinism with some technologies, and with certain attitudes.

    Let’s hope we all wake up from this kind of ridiculousness and not to the sort of violent society that rationalizes the use of these tools.

  85. why haven’t the sane people in this jurisdiction said “OK, that’s enough, hand in your badge there Leon and go home”?

  86. #135 Well Duh! thats what its used for in the midwest dont you know?!!! its all there to help quell the occasional zombie uprigsing that ravish the countryside from time to time!

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