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Amid Militarization Furor, California Department Jettisons MRAP

August 29, 2014  | 

Amid a national furor over police militarization, the San Jose (Calif.) Police Department has decided to get rid of a 15-ton armored vehicle it received earlier this year from a federal military surplus program, reports the San Jose Mercury News.

San Jose's move comes right on the heels of similar plans by the nearby city of Davis to jettison its mine-resistant, ambush-protected troop transport, or MRAP. In San Jose, the MRAP, designed to withstand improvised explosive devices used against U.S. forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, has been in an undisclosed storage garage in the city.

"It was acquired to provide protection to our bomb unit members," San Jose police spokeswoman Sgt. Heather Randol said. "We are the regional bomb facility. We are a resource in the county and statewide."

It was being outfitted for street use when police brass -- already facing criticism for their recent purchase of a drone -- decided it wasn't worth the potential damage to the department's image and community relationships.

"Helicopters were primarily a military vehicle. So are AR's (rifles), and so are the tactical vests and helmets we wear," said Sgt. Jim Unland, president of the San Jose Police Officers' Association. "Those come from military usage, have been incorporated in law enforcement, and save lives. If there are issues of trust with the community, explain the use, and create a firm policy of when we can use it and when we can't."

Tags: San Jose PD, Specialty Vehicles, Military Surplus


Comments (5)

Displaying 1 - 5 of 5

Tom Ret @ 8/29/2014 11:09 AM

Sgt Unland makes a lot more sense that the brass who are reacting because of
PC concerns.

retired chief @ 8/30/2014 4:38 PM

Real leaders anticipate objections to equipment like this in advance and proactively explain, in detail, why such vehicles are needed. One of the very best, and true, arguments is that across the country MRAPS, Bearcats, etc are more often used to evacuate innocent citizens from the kill zone than anything else. Wimpy leaders cave to political pressure. Real leaders overcome it.

Longarm9 @ 9/1/2014 8:44 PM

And because of some pansy ass leaders without the cajones to stand up to criticism and explain why such a vehicle is likely to save lives, both civilians and officers, the department loses a very useful tool. Unfortunate.

I can understand why some people look at a bearcat or an MRAP and wonder why a police force would need such a vehicle. Their concern stems from ignorance of the different tasks the police perform. There should be a clear, simple explanation for it which I think would satisfy most reasonable people.

Paul Smith @ 9/4/2014 11:03 AM

Being a certified MRAP University Instructor for 5 years at R.R.A.D., I can say that these vehicles are a fantastic tool for law enforcement in terms of crisis management/active shooter call outs. They have the same advantages of the Bearcat without costing the department $300,000. Having trained over 4 dozen state, county, and local SWAT/Crisis Management Teams in the last year on these vehicles with my company, Smith Integrated Technologies, I can tell you that there is no reason the men and women protecting our streets shouldn't receive the same top shelf instruction that our military receives while defending our country. People often forget that the officers have families to go home to at the end of their shifts as well, and if they can be provided the tools to make them safer during the course of duty, than so be it. Besides, the taxpayers already paid for these vehicles 5 years ago for the war.

Paul Smith @ 9/4/2014 11:05 AM

Being a certified MRAP University Instructor for 5 years at R.R.A.D., I can say that these vehicles are a fantastic tool for law enforcement in terms of crisis management/active shooter call outs. They have the same advantages of the Bearcat without costing the department $300,000. Having trained over 3 dozen state, county, and local SWAT/Crisis Management Teams in the last year on these vehicles with my company, Smith Integrated Technologies, I can tell you that there is no reason the men and women protecting our streets shouldn't receive the same top shelf instruction that our military receives while defending our country. People often forget that the officers have families to go home to at the end of their shifts as well, and if they can be provided the tools to make them safer during the course of duty, than so be it. Besides, the taxpayers already paid for these vehicles 5 years ago for the war.

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