Typically, when the conversation turns to vehicle customization, it usually involves overpowering engines, flashy designs, and ridiculous top-end speeds. But sometimes, the focus can provide a genuine real-world solution, such as enhancing police officer safety.
Case in point – the Rook Tactical Vehicle, which is custom-designed and fabricated by Ring Power Corporation, a Caterpillar Equipment dealer in Florida.
The Rook, which takes its name from the Chess piece, offers four unique tactical attachments that compliment a universal Caterpillar construction equipment chassis. The base from which the Rook takes shape provides rubber tracks and dual joystick controls.
Customizations come in the form of a roof-mounted escape hatch for the driver, additional cameras, lighting, bullet-proof glass, and an armor-reinforced cab. An integrated video system can also provide images that most smaller robotic cameras cannot.
The four attachments include a Hydraulic Breaching Arm that delivers up to 6,500 PSI of pressure for breaking through reinforced steel doors, wood, and concrete walls.
A Grapple Claw removes fortified doors and burglar bars, and can even be used to remove debris following natural disasters.
An Armored Deployment Platform can shield up to four officers as they breach buildings, and a hydraulic lift can even extend up to 11’ for second story access.
Finally, a Vehicle Extraction Tool allows for moving or immobilizing vehicles.
Currently, 25 U.S. police departments have purchased the $315,000 Rook. This list of customers includes the San Bernardino Police Department, who used it to take down Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik, who were the married couple that carried out a terrorist attack in 2015 that took the lives of 14 Americans at an office party.
The one thing the Rooks does not offer – weaponry of any kind.