Police Display Two Specialized Vehicles
During a break at a lengthy Police Commission meeting on the evening of Tuesday, May 7, town police displayed two specialized vehicles they have acquired, expanding and adding flexibility to their fleet.
Commission members and the public stepped outdoors at Town Hall South and checked the two vehicles, which were on display in the rear parking lot.
One vehicle is a former Newtown Volunteer Ambulance Corps (NVAC) ambulance, which was donated to the Newtown Police Department while Roger Connor, Jr, was the NVAC chief, police said.
The other vehicle is a camouflaged former military truck commonly known as a Humvee, which is military shorthand for “high mobility multipurpose wheeled vehicle.”
Police Captain Christopher Vanghele said, “The ambulance was in great shape but needed to be turned into a vehicle that could be used by our Emergency Services Unit (ESU) and as a general field command/scene vehicle.”
“The vehicle was ‘wrapped,’ and lettering and logos (were) added to make the exterior modifications,” Capt Vanghele said. “Lights were also changed out,” he added.
“The money used to get the work done was all through donations by Newtown citizens. The vehicle will be used by our ESU,” the captain said.
Four Newtown police officers are members of a multi-town ESU, which is called into service for complex police situations. Such specialized units formerly were known as Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) units. The four Newtown officers currently in the in the ESU are William Chapman, Richard Monckton, Benjamin Mulhall, and Matthew Hayes.
Of the converted ambulance, Police Chief James Viadero said, “The black vehicle will be used as a support platform for our emergency services unit. It also will be used as a vehicle for special events requiring a command post. We expect to use it frequently.”
The vehicle has a flat black finish for low visibility. Its markings have a subdued color scheme.
Capt Vanghele said the Humvee was obtained through a US military program that allows law enforcement agencies to acquire surplus/used military property and equipment.
Police got the vehicle from a National Guard depot in Rhode Island about eight months ago. Police also recived a trailer that will be towed by the Humvee.
The Humvee will be used by the ESU for transportation to training exercises and for responses to emergencies, the captain said. The Humvee will also be used for search and rescue operations, he added.
“As we experienced during the last microburst storm (in May 2018), getting to certain sections of town to respond to 911 calls was impossible, in some circumstances, given our current vehicles. The Humvee allows officers to go almost anywhere, even if water is covering the road,” he said.
Chief Viadero commented, “The Humvee was acquired in response to the past storms that we had. We discovered that certain areas in town became inaccessible to our vehicles. These Humvees give us greater ability to respond in these instances.”
The chief said, “Both vehicles were acquired at no expense to taxpayers and were outfitted through generous donations.
“Both vehicles give us the ability to respond to critical incidents and planned events in a greater capacity than before. They will both enhance our endeavor to provide quality police services to the town, while enhancing our response capability,” the chief added.
At the Police Commission session following the vehicles’ display, commission member Scott Cicciari, who headed fundraising for the ambulance conversion project, thanked Town Line Auto Body for the “generous donation” that the company made toward the project. He also expressed thanks to Colonial Auto Group.
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