SWAT unveils new gadgets

NORCROSS - Gwinnett County Police SWAT members on Friday showed off the two latest additions to their arsenal of high-tech gadgets designed to battle crime in the 21st century.

The Bearcat, a large Batmobile-like armored truck, replaces the department's older armored vehicle and will be used as a first response unit in the event of a terrorist attack, barricaded gunmen or hostage situation.

"It's pretty much the Cadillac of armored vehicles," said Lt. Tom Doran, a SWAT team commander prior to a demonstration at the police department's west precinct in Norcross.

At a cost of $262,000 - paid for with Federal Forfeiture Funds - the menacing vehicle can reach speeds up to 85 mph and accommodate 10-12 fully-armored personnel. Features include a two-way speaker system, a radiological detector and a roof-mounted infrared camera.

The department also added a second F6A robot, which was obtained for $182,000 through a Homeland Security grant. The robot, officials say, will allow multiple HAZMAT, bomb threat and explosive incidents to be handled simultaneously.