The Cambridge (MA) Police Department announced on Tuesday it will no longer have its tactical officers wear camouflage uniforms and will drop the number of long guns in its inventory after a conversation with a local activist that began last summer.
In June, councilors requested the department release a list of their property inventory. In July, the Cambridge PD released a 97-page PDF of their inventory, which included more than 60 Colt M4 rifles and 11 precision rifles intended for sniper applications. The agency also operates a Lenco BearCat armored rescue vehicle.
After former U.S. Army veteran and local activist Loren Crowe posted a thread on Twitter about the department’s equipment, Cambridge City Councilor Marc McGovern wrote on Twitter, “This list is disturbing. I had no idea we had all of this. I admit that there may be good explanations for some but this list is excessive,” CBS Boston reports.
At the time, Cambridge Police Commissioner Branville Bard did not feel the inventory was excessive; there were explanations for why the department had the inventory it had, he said. But he said he was open to conversations about possible changes, Wicked Local reports.
As a result of conversations with activist Crowe who served in Afghanistan, Bard decided to eliminate camouflage uniforms and reviewed CPD’s weapons inventory. Bard has already identified 20% of the department’s long guns like sniper rifles, M4s and shotguns that could be removed and is going to reduce less-than-lethal inventory, like certain "out-of-date" shotguns and baton rounds, by 30%.
Following community conversations regarding department inventory, the Cambridge Police will no longer wear camouflage uniforms & also intends to reduce the number of long guns and less-than-lethal weapons. #CambMA https://t.co/NV7cQ6vPH6— Cambridge Police👮🏽 (@CambridgePolice) February 16, 2021
“Statute requires me to auction them off, but the object is for the guns not to end up back on the street,” Bard said. “What I’m going to have to do is engage the city solicitor to try to seek an exemption so we can destroy the guns as opposed to auction them. So you may hear me use language like ‘retire’ or ‘reduce’ as opposed to ‘get rid of’ because I’m not sure I can right away until I follow some procedures to be able to destroy the weapons.”
Crowe said there’s still the outstanding issue of the department's Lenco BearCat, which he’d like to see off the streets.
When asked if he was open to retiring the BearCat, Bard said it’s considered a regional asset, acquired after the Marathon bombing. Police did not have adequate protection against gunfire, and none of their vehicles could withstand or protect from explosions. He said the department is looking at alternatives, but those conversations are just at the beginning stages.