Turns out Tampa isn't the only 2012 convention host city whose police have big armored vehicles.
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police has two of them.
Neither the Dragoon nor the BEAR (see photo) looks as tank-like as Tampa's Rescue 2. And neither of the wheeled CMPD vehicles is amphibious -- Rescue 2 is that, too.
But make no mistake: The CMPD has a pair of mean-looking machines.
BEAR (short for Balistic Engineered Armored Response & Rescue) is an armored personnel carrier. It was was purchased back in 2006 for $305,000 through the Urban Area Security Initiative, said CMPD spokesman Rob Tufano.
CMPD has had the Dragoon since 2000 -- the force got it free through the Law Enforcement Services program. It was capable of being amphibious when it was new, but not now. It's mostly used these days for high threat situations, as a back-up to the more modern BEAR.
Tampa's Rescue 2 recently rumbled over to an Occupy Tampa protest, according to Yahoo News. That was seen by some as a possible dry run to next year's Republican National Convention, which is expected to draw a lot of protesters to Tampa.
Those planning the 2012 Democratic National Convention in Charlotte are expecting quite a few protesters to show up here, too.
Is it possible CMPD's two armored vehicles will be used during convention week next September?
Tufano sent the CMPD's standard statement, which doesn't answer our question.
The statement: "The goal of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department is to develop a seamless security plan that will create a secure environment for the community and event participants. There is a tremendous amount of advance planning and coordination in the areas of venue security, air space security, training, communications and credentialing. The means, methods and specific resources to carry out protective responsibilities will not be discussed publicly in advance, but the CMPD and our partners will work to ensure a safe environment."
The purpose of this blog is to share developments, stories and other information behind the city of Charlotte's quest to host the 2012 Democratic National Convention and North Carolina's role in the presidential election.