National City police 'BATT' ready to fight crime in South Bay

Grant allows National City to purchase vehicle

NATIONAL CITY, Calif. - Residents in the South Bay will soon be seeing the National City Police Department's new armored SWAT vehicle out on the streets.

National City police recently added the Ballistic Armored Tactical Transport, or BATT, to its arsenal. Some people refer to it as the "BATTmobile" because there actually is an armored bat logo in the truck's grill and a batwing visor above the bulletproof windshield.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security gave National City a grant for $127,000 to purchase the BATT. It's the department's first armored transport.

National City SWAT commander Lt. David Espiritu gave 10News an inside look and a ride in the BATT. Quarter-inch steel protects people on the inside and little ports open up in the event an officer needs to fire his weapon outside the BATT.

The BATT joins a platoon of nine other armored vehicles from Oceanside to the South Bay that can be called out whenever or wherever extra protection is needed. Espiritu said the vehicle is not just for SWAT.

"That's the big misconception because it's armored that it's specific for SWAT use and that's not the case," he said.

Carlsbad's armored transport was used to safely move residents to safety during a recent SWAT standoff in Encinitas earlier this year.

El Cajon's Bearcat protected firefighters and police when a gunman was firing at them while his own home was on fire.

10News surveyed the police agencies in the South Bay. Collectively, they have used similar vehicles about 10 times a year.

Espiritu said you never want to use it but "if we do need, you're going to be glad you have it."

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