SAINT JOHN -- Saint John Police Chief Bruce Connell says Christmas has come early for his police force after the donation of a new armoured rescue vehicle.

The vehicle, which comes with a price tag of more than $380,000, was donated to the police department by a local company, Commercial Properties Limited.

“Quite frankly, it was like the 24th of December when the bay door rolled up and that vehicle came in,” says Connell.

The donation was made in response to two deadly police shootings in the province.

A shooting in Fredericton in August 2018 claimed the lives of constables Robb Costello and Sara Burns, and civilians Donnie Robichaud and Bobbie Lee Wright. RCMP constables Dave Ross, Doug Larche and Fabrice Gevaudan were also killed in a shooting in Moncton in June 2014.

“Everybody was planning memorial services and I was worried about what we could do to help prevent, what could we do to help lessen the risk? And that’s how we approached Chief Connell,” says John Irving, the president of Commercial Properties Limited.

Irving says he’s happy to donate the vehicle, but he hopes it never sees action.

“Our best hope is that, other than for training, it never has to be used,” he says.

Fredericton and Moncton already have armoured vehicles, while Halifax recently approved a $500,000 purchase of an armoured vehicle, which is expected to be delivered next year.

Connell says he’s grateful Saint John has been added to the list of Maritime cities with an armoured rescue vehicle.

“Every day, every day I think and I worry about, how can we do the very best I can so our members go home?” says Connell. “As I said, when this vehicle rolled in on Tuesday night, after a few minutes, it sunk into me, I have this here in Saint John.”

The vehicle can hold 10 passengers and equipment, and can be used in situations such as active shooter, tactical support, and training.