In this week's cover story, CP editor Paulina Reso gives a first-hand look at how the strange sport...
Published: 10/17/2013 | 0 Comments Posted
The 2013 Sentinel armored vehicle for military use.
Ironically overshadowed by the continued troubles of bully cop Philip Nace and the spectacular debut of the Philly PD's new spokesdog, the International Association of Chiefs of Police Conference (IACP 2013) will quietly slip into the Pennsylvania Convention Center next week. Along with its cumbersome name, the convention will display some creepily militarized "police" equipment, including the International Armor Group's Sentinel Tactical Response Vehicle, a hulking armored truck. The military version features a swivel gun turret on top.
IAG spokesman Hetal Kara confirmed the vehicle would be making an appearance at the IACP, and said the Sentinel was designed for "police departments, Homeland Security or the Army." A demonstration video shows the craft tooling around in the UAE, presumably trying to get as close to Middle Eastern battlefields as possible. What use a local police department might have for a vehicle whose primary selling points are its ability to withstand armor-piercing rounds and roadside mine blasts in the desert wasn't totally clear.
Even though the presence of the Sentinel and similar military-grade equipment at a convention is a far cry from the PPD crashing through rowhomes with one of these things (which they could totally do, probably), civil libertarians will likely see the display and its target audience as reflective of increasing attempts at militarizing America's peace officers. On the other hand, fans of the movie Robocop might see this as a step toward finally establishing a cool OCP-style corporate police state in Philadelphia.
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