At every law enforcement trade show, you see cops walk by the big-ticket items like tactical vehicles and you can read their faces. Their expressions say: “This thing is great. It might save some lives. But there’s no way we can afford it.”

This fall thanks to a donation from Fredericksburg, Va.-based Patriot3 one tactical police unit somewhere in the United States will no longer wish for a tactical vehicle. It will have one.

Through the National Tactical Officers Association (NTOA) Special Product Assistance for Needed Tactical Officers Assets (SPA) grants program, Patriot3 is giving away its demo RAID (Rescue, Access, Intervention, Deployment) vehicle equipped with the Liberator ETS (Elevated Tactics System).

“We just see that there are a lot of teams out there in need of a system like this, and we wanted to help somebody in need,” says Tina Kahre, marketing director for Patriot3.

The donated RAID vehicle has been Patriot3’s demo model since 2006. “We drive it to trade shows and demonstrations, so it’s got some mileage on it,” says Patriot3 U.S. sales manager Duane Stokes. “But it’s a diesel, so the mileage really doesn’t matter that much.”

Stokes says that the brand new donated RAID vehicle would have sold for approximately $180,000. The vehicle is built on a Ford E350 chassis with a diesel engine and a Quigley 4x4 transmission. It also has upgraded tires and suspension.

RAID vehicles are not armored rescue vehicles. They are multi-purpose tactical transport systems and deployment platforms. The donated RAID seats 10 fully equipped tactical officers, and it can transport as many as 20. “You can put officers on the running boards and on top for short distances at slow speeds,” Stokes says.

Once the officers arrive in position, they can use the Liberator ETS system to deploy into third story or second story ports of entry. The running boards can also be adjusted to give officers a low, medium, or high platform for directing fire into aircraft or buses in hostage rescue operations.

Stokes says Patriot3 chose to donate the RAID vehicle through NTOA because the company had worked with the association on donations of its Minuteman ballistic shield product in the past. “We knew that NTOA had the system set up for this, and we didn’t want to have to reinvent the wheel,” he explains.

NTOA established its SPA grant program in 2003. That year, Point Blank/P.A.C.A. body armor donated tactical vests to the Danville (Va.) Police Department. More than 30 companies have since participated in the program, including Patriot3, BlackHawk, Tactical Electronics, DPMS, TRU-SPEC, Safariland, ALS Technologies, Leupold, and TASER International.

Corey Luby, marketing director for Doylestown, Pa.-based NTOA, says the Patriot3 RAID vehicle is the most valuable product ever offered in the program. He expects to receive a lot of applications for the grant. “In 2006, we received 178 applications for a $7,500 grant from SureFire. That’s the record so far.” Luby believes the RAID vehicle may result in even more response.

To apply for the grant, NTOA member agencies can go to Deadline for applications is August 21. The winner will be selected by NTOA board members and Patriot3.

—David Griffith