LOWNDES CO., GA (WALB) - Law enforcement officers say an armored vehicle saved lives during a standoff with a violent KKK leader.
More than a dozen bullet markings are left on the Lowndes County Sheriff's Office Bearcat armored vehicle.
Six deputies were in the vehicle during a standoff Friday, April 15 in Dooly County.
"This tool proved it's worthiness in this incident," says Cpt. Stryde Jones with the Lowndes County Sheriff's Office.
Lt. Joseph Dukes was driving the Bearcat and says it helped save his life and the lives of the deputies with him.
"There's no doubt that if that vehicle had not been there they would have been relying on their vests to stop those rounds," explains Lt. Dukes
"Had it not been for this truck those deputies would have been injured or shot," Cpt, Jones agreed.
The Lowndes County Sheriff's office received the vehicle in 2012 from a grant.
The purchase of the vehicle came under fire after some citizens believed the sheriff's office didn't need a military-grade vehicle
Lt. Jones says without the vehicle this situation would have been a lot different for the officers.
"To do what we did we would have had to use hand shields and we would have had to go through danger zones to go where we needed to go," explains Lt. Dukes.
He says the standoff shows how much the vehicle helps officers in dangerous situations.
"It can go in and out of a hot zone with very little concern about the citizens or the safety of the officers while we're retrieving the citizens," Lt. Dukes explains.
Deputies say the vehicle is not armed with any lethal weapons but it's used as a defensive tool to get closer to a situation safely.
"The same reason you would give a fire fighter a fire truck would be the same reason you would give law enforcement officers the ability to be able to withstand gun fire," Lt. Dukes urges.
As part of the grant the Lowndes County Sheriff's office agrees to provide the vehicle and a driver to other agencies within 100 miles.