Area residents have responded to the Northwest Regional SWAT team's need for another armored vehicle.
The team hosted its first large fundraiser recently.
Merrillville police Sgt. Bob Morgan, the commander of the SWAT team, said he estimated 300 people would attend the event. The program attracted 640 people.
The program included several raffles and a silent auction.
"We're planning on the event being bigger and better next year," Morgan said.
The total amount generated wasn't yet available, but funds received will be used to buy a second armored vehicle for Northwest Regional SWAT, Morgan said.
The cost of the armored police Bearcat the team plans to purchase is $219,000, Morgan said. Although the fundraiser was a success, the team has more fundraising to do before it can buy the vehicle.
The team received a Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicle in October. Morgan said the Bearcat has more maneuverability than the MRAP armored vehicle, which came at no cost to Northwest Regional SWAT.
Prior to obtaining the MRAP, the only item team members had to stop rifle rounds was a small plate on their body armor, Morgan said.
He stressed the purpose of the armored vehicles is to protect officers and residents during emergencies, such as hostage situations.
Morgan recalled a situation on Christmas in 2012 when Northwest Regional SWAT was involved in a six-hour standoff with a person armed with a rifle in a Crown Point home.
"These vehicles are about letting us operate safely" and rescuing people, he said.
Fundraisers are necessary for the team because Northwest Regional SWAT is almost entirely self-funded, Morgan said.
The team serves Merrillville, Crown Point, Schererville, Dyer, Griffith, Hobart, Lowell, Munster and Lake Station.
Each member department is responsible to provide a ballistic vest, helmet and M-4 rifle for each officer they have on the team. Northwest Regional SWAT handles the other expenses for the team.
"We don't want to be a huge financial burden on (local police departments)," Morgan said.
People interested in donating to Northwest Regional SWAT can contact Morgan at (219) 769-3531.