NEOSHO, Mo. — 19,000 lbs of machinery has been added to the Newton County Sheriff’s Office.

“It’s the nature of the business nowadays. Things are getting much more violent in the world obviously and I believe in purchasing the very finest equipment that I can afford,” said Chris Jennings, Newton County Sheriff.

The Newton County Sheriff’s Office has added this to its force: The Lenco BearCat G-3 — a military-grade vehicle for its Special Response Team.

“It will serve all of our purposes as well that we do in Newton County. We do probably 12 to 15 situations a year that we need a vehicle like this for. So it was definitely time we upgraded to give what we have here.”

Sheriff Chris Jennings adds they’ll use it for emergency situations — like barricades — armed or violent subject apprehensions — and drug search warrants.

It’s equipped with a hydraulic battering ram — and can stop a bullet from a 50-caliber gun. It cost close to $300,000 — and is replacing a vehicle that’s more than 30 years old.

“We still have a military MRAP which you’ve seen a lot of the agencies have. Very good piece of equipment but it weighs 65,000lbs. We can’t pull it in people’s yards. It won’t cross half the bridges in Newton County.”

Sheriff Jennings tells us he hopes this brings greater comfort to the county and provides more safety for his deputies.

“This is for the citizens of Newton County. It’s being used by my people. But we’re using it to assist them and keep them safe.”

Funding for the vehicle comes from the department’s equipment budget. Sheriff Jennings said it should be paid off in the next couple of years.