It will sit as a silent guardian against crime in and around St. Clair County, only the second unit of its kind in Illinois.

On Tuesday morning sheriff’s officials literally pulled the wraps off “The Exterminator”, a donated armored truck that’s been repainted and fitted with foam-filled tires that can’t be flattened, a padlocked hood, a locked gas cap, protective screens over the headlights and other add-ons to discourage vandalism.

St. Clair County Sheriff Mearl Justus says “The Exterminator” is not meant to be covert or stealthy – far from it.

“The Exterminator is not an undercover vehicle,” Sheriff Justus told a gathering of fellow law enforcers and the media outside the sheriff’s department in Belleville. “It’s designed to be highly visible. It sends a message we will not tolerate drug trafficking, littered lawns, loud noise and other neighborhood nuisances.”

Justus got the idea when he heard about a similar police unit being used in Peoria, Illinois called “The Armadillo”.

It’s the only other known surveillance unit of its kind in Illinois, and one of just a handful being used by departments elsewhere across the U.S...