BEARCAT in Keene Mocked by John Oliver on HBO

Keene PD Unveiling of BEARCAT - image courtesy Free Press PublicationsNEW YORK CITY – Last night John Oliver, host of the HBO comedy program Last Week Tonight, focused on the current events in Ferguson, MO, where de facto martial law has been declared and the National Guard has been mobilized in response to citizen protests over the police shooting of an unarmed 18-year-old black man.  But he made a point of commenting on, and giggling at, the fact that the quintessential New England town of Keene, New Hampshire, has its own Lenco BEARCAT (an acronym for Ballistic Engineered Armored Response Counter Attack Truck).

As detailed in a 7/30/2013 article by Radley Balko,

“We’re going to have our own tank,” Keene, N.H., Mayor Kendall Lane whispered to Councilman Mitch Greenwald during a December 2011 city council meeting.

It wasn’t quite a tank. But the quaint town of 23,000—home to just two murders since 1999—had just accepted a $285,933 grant from the Department of Homeland Security to purchase a BEARCAT, an eight-ton armored personnel vehicle made by Lenco Industries, Inc.”

The Salon article continues “On Feb. 9, 2012, more than 100 people packed a meeting of a city council committee, nearly all to oppose equipping the Keene Police Department and its 45 sworn officers with a BEARCAT.”

According to Balko,

“Lenco’s Massery told me he was certain that the Keene protesters’ efforts would ultimately be in vain. “We have BEARCATs in 90 percent of the 100 or so largest cities in America,” Massery said. “This is going to happen. It has already happened. To resist now would be like saying police officers should scrap the Glock and go back to the revolver. It’s a fantasy.”

Massery was right. In November 2012, Lenco accepted its check from DHS, and delivered a shiny new BEARCAT to the town of Keene.”

Keene-area liberty activists agree that the Keene Police Department’s application for a BEARCAT was laughable.  Liberty activists participated in and documented the town’s fight against the BEARCAT in numerous articles on, including a scathing report by Ian Freeman of Free Talk Live the night of the City Council vote.

Rainbow over Keene Pumpkin FestivalThanks to Brit John Oliver for reminding the country of the ludicrousness of the Keene Police Department claiming it needs an armored assault vehicle because “the terrorism threat is far-reaching and often unforeseen” at…. the Annual Pumpkin Festival. (The part of the video about Keene starts at the 7 minute mark.)

3 Responses to "BEARCAT in Keene Mocked by John Oliver on HBO"

  1. Pingback: Keene Government Continues to Be Targeted by Comedy Media | Free Keene

  2. Tom Sawyer   August 19, 2014 at 8:46 AM

    Brilliant and hopeful… funny as well. The powers that be can’t help but over play their hand.

  3. Phil   September 25, 2015 at 9:21 PM

    After the 2014 Pumpkin Festival maybe the Keene police need a bearcat. Seriously, I saw one young “adult” on video scale a flattened beer can into the crowd. That was like a ninja star and could have taken out a child’s eye.


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