Prepared for the Worst: An Inside Look at SEMLEC Vehicles

For the first time, NBC10 Boston is getting a rare, inside-look at the SEMLEC vehicles used on the front lines.

SEMLEC is the Southeastern Massachusetts Law Enforcement Council, a mutual aid consortium comprised of the resources from police departments from 30 different towns and cities.

SEMLEC says their Rook is only one of 13 similar vehicles in the country.

It was recently used in May in an active standoff at a house in Middleboro. An attachment was used to knock in windows and a garage door.

“You definitely feel safe on it. As safe as you can feel in a situation...” said Plymouth County Sheriffs Deputy Jim MacDonald, who is also on the SWAT team.

SWAT team members can ride on the front and back of the Rook while being shielded.

There’s ports for rifles.

There’s also a door where a State Police robot can be deployed.

A ram attachment can move or pick up a car.

The platform can also be raised to a second-floor window so a camera can see inside.

“These are not tanks. They are not armed in any way shape or form,” said Carver Police Chief Mark Duphily.

Duphily is the team’s unit commander.

He stresses this is defensive police work, and that they’re using the technology more and more to buy them time in an active situation.

NBC10 Boston also got a look inside the Bearcat, which is similar to a large pick up truck but is armored and fits about 12-14 SWAT team members.

Inside the Bearcat, there’s battering rams, shields, and a hole where SWAT members can fire out of.

SEMLEC President Chris Delmonte says in these cases, the tools are a shield for the human body.

Chief Delmonte said, “These vehicles try to level that playing field and put us in a better position to make those kind of assessments."

The vehicles help small towns who wouldn’t normally have access to these tools, Chief Delmonte says.

“These same scenarios that we’ve come across would have taken place anyway, we’re just able to handle those situations with a better collaboration and coordination with our partners with better equipment,” he said.

And while all of these tools are important, the SWAT team says most important are the negotiators; 85- to 90-percent of the time active situations are resolved peacefully through those negotiators.

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