The Killeen City Council approved the purchase of 20 fully equipped Tahoes and a new SWAT vehicle.

The Killeen Police Department is adding more than $1.4 million worth of equipment to its fleet in an ongoing effort to provide efficient and safe work tools to police officers, the police chief said.

After a lengthy discussion during Tuesday’s meeting, the City Council unanimously gave Police Chief Dennis Baldwin the go-ahead to buy 20 new fully equipped Chevrolet Tahoes and a new SWAT vehicle.

The $300,000 ballistic armored tactical transport (BATT) vehicle will be added to the department’s arsenal, replacing its 1977 SWAT vehicle. The 37-year-old vehicle was acquired from the U.S. Air Force through the Defense Department’s 1033 program, which allows surplus military equipment to be used by police. It will go back to the military when replaced by the new BATT vehicle.

Councilman Steve Harris said he received concerns from residents about the police department becoming too “militaristic.”

Baldwin said because of the realities that law enforcement deals with, it has become somewhat paramilitary; however, there are differences.

“I think we are able to separate where we need to and I’m hoping that we’re displaying the equipment we do have in a proper fashion and respecting those that we serve, and not making it that kind of militaristic environment,” he said. “We do use some of the same equipment (as the military). Some of the stuff the military uses came from the policing profession.”

An example Baldwin used to demonstrate how the department separates itself from the military was that it decided against going with a mine-resistant ambush protected vehicle through the DOD’s 1033 program.

“Yes, it’s free, but it was made for combat. It’s not made for policing operations, and they are different,” he said. “We can adapt things from the military to be used, but it’s better if we can find something on the market, like the BATT vehicle, that is tailored to policing functions.”

The SWAT team uses the vehicle an average of 75 to 100 times a year, Baldwin said. It’s used for various tasks, including extra protection for when dignitaries visit the city, in executing high-risk warrants and arresting suspects believed to be armed and dangerous.

Baldwin said the armored vehicle “proves the safest environment to confront the ever present tactical incident, increasing the officer’s potential to return home safe at the end of each day.”

According to city documents, the department will purchase the BATT vehicle with funds from the city’s general fund.


The 20 Tahoes come with a price tag of about $58,000 each totalling $1.15 million.

The purchase of the units is written into the 2014 fiscal year’s budget, and funds will come from the city’s general motor vehicle fund and the red-light enforcement fund.

Baldwin said the size of a sport utility vehicle provides more efficiency and room for a police officer’s equipment.

“A sedan is a lot smaller than we would like,” he said. “We have to think about the prisoners we transport. They come in all shapes and all sizes. We’ve got to be able to maneuver them in and out of that car. SUVs are bigger and there’s more room. Not to mention, all the equipment (officers) carry. Some carry flares, different types of evidence processing items. ... If they’re a (tactical) officer they would be carrying that with them on duty. When factoring in all the things they carry, that small (sedan) is just not user-friendly.”

The demand for equipment is a “never-ending task,” Baldwin said. The department’s evaluation, maintenance, replacement of and need for equipment is always placed at the forefront during the annual budgeting process.

“(The fleet replacement program) ensures the replacement of aging vehicles that are operated daily under high structural stress situations in emergency response to the needs of the community making sure the safest and most operable equipment is on the street,” he said.

Some of the 20 new patrol units will replace units in the department’s existing fleet that are nearing the end of their lifespan because of age or wear and tear. It’s required that 25 percent of all new vehicles go into the patrol fleet, while the remainder are individually assigned to officers.

Baldwin said once a unit is phased out of the department’s fleet, it’s given to the academy for training puposes.

Contact Natalie Stewart at or 254-501-7555

(11) comments


I believe we have drifted ff of the original subject. I too am to be blamed.
I believe the original subject was the 20 patrol cars plus the one SWAT vehicle. If I remember correctly, I approached the concept of replacing 20 sedans that were inadvertently, for whatever reason, purchased and it was found that they were 'too small' to house all of the equipment. The chief said that the prisoners 'didn't fit' in the smaller sedans. That was the reason for going to a larger vehicle. Also it was said that 25 % of the vehicles were to go to the patrol group. My question was 'where did the other 75 % go? I feel that is a valid question.
As to the replacement of the 1979 Air Force supplied vehicle, I inquired as to where the vehicle is housed, downtown, or out in the south 40 where the police station is located. Again, I feel that is a valid question. What bridges would be in question?
@ Eliza, I don't think referring to the SWAT vehicle 'as a left over' is germane to the issue. Is the vehicle reliable? Is the vehicle creating a undo amount of maintenance and overhead? That would be the question in my mind at least, not just to have a new toy.
And yes I agree, our porous southern border needs to be plugged. I won't get into sending the 'individuals' back.


Well, unfortunately, it is my personal belief that we have sunk back into the order of a city government that rivals the one we had back in 2010. Spend money with a devil may care atttiude. I still wonder how the previous mayors could say that the present city manager was unacceptable for the job, spend thousands of dollars for a company to locate a new city manager, then call it off until a new mayor was elected, then at the first city county meeting, the outgoing mayor made a motion that Morrison be appointed to the position, due to his resounding record, which was seconded by the then current mayor, and ram rodded it through. Now the city manager has 2 assistants to 'assist' him in his daily duty's. And for that, the current city manager is awarded a 4 % raise. The city employees were just recently awarded a 3 % , excluding the city manager who had a 4 % raise, across the board 3 % raise saying that their efficiency had been determined that 'they earned it'. I have not seen any justification for those words yet.
I agree with Max67 in that the city government is, I believe, ram rodding a lot of actions through without any 'voice of the people'. But I guess that goes to show the old saying 'you scratch my back and I'll scratch yours'.


@Alvin - - I agree with you about the city spending too much money. I was pleased, myself, when Councilmans Okray and Harris took a stand and voted against the across the board employee raise. Okray didn't agree with it and Harris wanted to wait for the final results of the salary study to make a "more informed" determination. He was also never given the answer of who Killeen's salaries are being compared to. At least we have 2 councilmembers who are trying to be financially responsible in some way. I do understand their voting for the police request. I think for some, it is about spending money like it grows on trees while, with others, it is about picking and choosing the best things to spend money on.


Unfortunately it goes back to the deceitful Police Chief of the City of Killeen takes advantage of his position and the Inexperienced City Manager.

Has anyone questioned the compliance of the pass through financing before issuing more debt (tax payer or revenue related / water and sewer) -- this $20million in debt of which $1.4 mill is designated for unnecessary PD equip that should be paid from the General Fund Budget rather than financing a 20 year instrument).

It has nothing to do with equipment, fleet, etc.; this City has now earned poor funding controls as the General fund balance continues to decline and grossly or poorly managed city dollars continue to be a reflection of the P&R Bachelor Degreed City Manager. This can be calculated by reviewing the budgetary balance in the CAFR and one can see how close the city is needing to implement measures to rebuild the budgetary fund balance as the fund balance policy states.

Has anyone figured out why the External Audit Management letter that used to be placed in the back of the audit with the single audit report was not provided to city council for 2013?
What happened to 'transparency?'

This management letter is approximately multiple pages long and should probably had caused the city to receive a 'qualified opinion' instead of an unqualified opinion especially with the many implications of concern as explained.

These used to be discussed in workshops and were transparent under previous City Management.

Open your eyes citizens, this will affect future bond yields that will cost you more on the interest paid on the principal you borrow on these $20million Debt issues.


I was just asking the question as to whether or not the 'old' swat vehicle was in any way attributed to any recent deaths or injuries. No, it is my understanding the 2 officers were not in or on this vehicle at the time of their deaths. The comment about the weight, well the new vehicle, as I understand it, will have armor capable of deflecting up to 50 cal. New materials and alloys have been developed since the 1979 model. How much of a weight reduction, I don't know.


The concern with weight was not with the new AV the police are now getting but, with the military AV that would have been free through that program they mentioned. The military version was made for war, land mines and IED's.


this " swat vehicle was in no way connected to the recent deaths of 2 swat officers.they were not in or on the vehicle.if this one is too heavy for some bridges, a new one will be lots heavier than the old one.[sad][ban]


I have to agree with Alvin; Chief Baldwin only cares about how much 'more' tax payer money he can talk one of the most inexperienced, City Manager's with a Parks and Recreation bachelor degree from Texas A&M, Glenn Morrison into spending on police department equipment at a time of 'using the citizens sympathy'.
Baldwin should be embarrassed of himself and working on 'really caring for his police department' and 'spending the tax payers' money' instead of the overspending on 'unnecessary stuff'.
Once again citizens do the math and compare with your surrounding cities: there are much less expensive ways of accommodating the fleet and maintaining the same results. Look at the City of Temple, City of Georgetown, City of Round Rock, City of Abilene or other similar cities. How much is spent on their police department fleet?
Is that cost necessary?


Well the city council was swayed by another load of - - -. As to the accounting of 'just one vehicle, that being a 1979 assault vehicle, one would ask the question – just how many officers have been killed and/or wounded by the use of this old antiquated vehicle that would require replacement?' The statement was made that 'the vehicle is used an average of 75 to 100 times a year'. The statement was made that the vehicle is 'too heavy' depending on what bridge it has to go over, one would question just 'where this vehicle is stored, downtown. City yard, or out in the boondocks where the new police station is.
As to the necessity of purchasing 20 new Tahoe vehicles, 'I seem to remember last year or the year before the KPD asking for new vehicle allotments, then when they were received, it was determined that 'the sedans were too small'. One would ask, is the one who ultimately 'purchased' these 'vehicles that were too small' given a raise for that venture???
I for one do not like 'waste in a city' and I feel like there is rampant waste in this city. To say that 'the prisoners come in all sizes'. Are the prisoners coming larger than before? And the statement was made that 25% of the new cars go to the patrol fleet – what about the other 75%?
I for one personally feel that that there is considerable waste in the KPD along with the city manager's 'sleight of hand' in manipulating the city budget and available funds, the $5 Million going to the water plant, the 231 assault type weapons, and on and on and on.
I for one do not want anyone to be killed or wounded because they were not provided with sufficient equipment to do their duty, but on the other hand, do we have to supply them in the manner to which they are accustomed?


There may be concern about the new SWAT vehicle ask for and now to be purchased by the KPD-

However---With the present day time of crime in which criminals now are more willing to even kill police officers, the dept.'s.KPD at least, was behind times,still having to use a 1979 leftover from the Air Force.

We have to remember too, As long as the southern gates and our back door are left open, the people don't even know the kind of criminal that could still have access to the state or Killeen. We are only a couple of hundred miles from a foreign county.

We can see just in the last days and weeks, The tens of thousands of 'Foreign Nationals' who have been welcomed by Federal Gov. into the country through the state of Texas. They are supposedly 'kids', But news photos show, there are many young adult men included.

The local police dept. are the citizens 1st barrier of defense in times of possible turmoil.
I want them to be as well supplied as 'truly needed' in order to be a more protective law enforcement agency in the common interest of the citizens..


@Eliza - - I agree with you as well. It, may be at times, better to invest in something than to not invest and find out that you wish you had it in the end. It is a sensitive balancing act to do this but, sometimes, it must be done. As the chief said, he believes that this AV should last for a good 15 to 20yrs...if nothing crazy happens.

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