Police Militarization Comes to Davis

DPD-Police-Vehicle
Photo of City of Davis’ new police vehicle that was acquired for no cost from military surplus

Even before the Ferguson incident, the issue of the militarization of American policing had come to the forefront. On June 24, the ACLU released its report, “War Comes Home: The Excessive Militarization of American Policing.” In it, they conclude, “American policing has become unnecessarily and dangerously militarized, in large part through federal programs that have armed state and local law enforcement agencies with the weapons and tactics of war, with almost no public discussion or oversight.”

The Vanguard learned last week that the city of Davis’ police department has acquired a large military-style vehicle.

Davis Police Chief Landy Black explained in a full statement, “Two weeks ago, through that 1033 Program, we received—for free—a low mileage, well maintained, armored vehicle that will enable us to be better prepared for and capable of handling a school/university/mall-based/etc. mass-shooting (‘active-shooter’) incident occurring in Davis or at UCD.”

He added, “The vehicle, which is valued at $689,000, is known by its military acronym, “MRAP” (Mine Resistant, Ambush Protected). It is one of the smaller versions of armored vehicle the military had been employing in Afghanistan.”

The leadership in Davis was caught off guard by this development. Councilmember Lucas Frerichs told the Vanguard late on Tuesday, “I was extremely surprised to learn of, (after it’s delivery), this recent acquisition of an armored vehicle, by the Davis Police Department.”

Mayor Dan Wolk added, “I can’t imagine why Davis needs a tank. It’s in a city garage and I hope it stays there.”

Councilmember Brett Lee was more circumspect, noting on the one hand, “We live in a free society where the presumption is innocent until proven guilty, we have the right to assembly, the freedom of the press and the right to free speech. I am deeply troubled when these basic rights are ignored.”

However, concluding, “Sadly we live in a nation where sometimes we must be prepared for the extreme circumstance; so yes, I am comfortable accepting a free donation of the armored vehicle with the clear understanding that the police will only use it under very narrow circumstances.”

Chief Landy Black explained that in 2009, the Davis City Council issued Resolution 09-033 which renewed the authorization for the Davis Police Department “to acquire surplus federal/military equipment suitable for use in conventional law enforcement activities through the 1033 Program of the Defense Logistics Agency, Law Enforcement Support Office (DLA/LESO).”

“The 1033 Program was established to convert/re-purpose surplus federal/military equipment to local law enforcement use. The program is administered here in California by the Office of Emergency Services (OES).”

In his explanation, he noted, “We will hopefully never benefit from its mine resistance capabilities, but its ambush (ballistic) protection makes it the perfect platform to perform rescues of victims and potential victims during such active-shooter incidents, and to more safely deliver officers into any active-shooter incidents, barricaded hostage crises, and/or other or environments involving armed offenders.”

According to Chief Black, there is currently no law enforcement specific vehicle mass-marketed that has the same ballistic properties.

He believes, “Without this armored rescue vehicle, the Davis Police Department is not able to respond into an active-live fire situation to either perform extraction, rescue, or threat elimination without extreme risk to the officers and any involved persons.”

At the same time, there are increasing concerns about the militarization of the police.

The ACLU’s report notes, “Using these federal funds, state and local law enforcement agencies have amassed military arsenals purportedly to wage the failed War on Drugs, the battlegrounds of which have disproportionately been in communities of color. But these arsenals are by no means free of cost for communities. Instead, the use of hyper-aggressive tools and tactics results in tragedy for civilians and police officers, escalates the risk of needless violence, destroys property, and undermines individual liberties.”

Radley Balko, who was one of the first to sound the alarm on the militarization of police with his 2013 book “Rise of the Warrior Cop: The Militarization of America’s Police Forces,” recently wrote in the Washington Post, “Where violent, volatile SWAT tactics were once used only in limited situations where someone was in the process of or about to commit a violent crime — where the police were using violence only to defuse an already violent situation — SWAT teams today are overwhelmingly used to investigate people who are still only suspected of committing nonviolent consensual crimes. And because these raids often involve forced entry into homes, often at night, they’re actually creating violence and confrontation where there was none before.”

Missouri’s Governor Jay Nixon, a former prosecutor and attorney general, criticized the “over-militarization” of the police response to protests. “There are times when force is necessary, but we really felt that push at that time was a little aggressive, obviously, and those images were not what we were trying to get to,” he said on ABC’s “This Week.”

“And in those situations where folks are rolling up heavily armored and they’re pointing guns at folks, that’s impossible to have a dialogue,” Governor Nixon said.

At the same time, Davis does not face the crisis that exists in Ferguson, Missouri. However, incidents arise and UC Davis in particular was heavily criticized for their handling of student protests in November 2011 that led to the pepper spray incident.

These concerns do not appear to be lost on Chief Landy Black.

He told the Vanguard, “We are sensitive to the ‘militarization of the police’ concern. We do not want to minimize that sentiment and will look for ways to reduce public anxiety, including through the community trust that the Davis Police Department works so hard to earn and keep.”

At the same time, he argued, “This is not militarization.”

He explained, “I wish police generally, and Davis Police specifically, weren’t forced to deal with the sort of circumstances that make this sort of tool a necessity. But like it or not, the types of incidents that we need to be prepared for, the types of incidents that put citizens at dire risk, especially as recent history has demonstrated, too often also create victims from students and children.”

He noted, “These tragedies are taking place in sleepy little towns and low-key universities around the U.S. Places not unlike Davis and UC Davis (e.g. Sandy Hook and Virginia State). Preparedness, akin to the approach we as community want to take with regard to the oil trains, cannot be under-valued just because this is peaceful Davis.”

The chief added, “In fact, as a relative comparison, the likelihood of an active shooter incident occurring in one of our public schools or at UCD is probably ten times more likely to occur than an oil train derailment that results in explosion or fire.

“By my rough count, there have been thirteen or more active-shooter incidents, causing 13 deaths and 25 people suffering gunshot wounds at schools/colleges in the U.S. so far in 2014, while only one rail car derailment that resulted in fire.”

The chief continued, “Acknowledging that the likelihood of an active shooter incident is remote, but certainly not impossible, we—the community and its public safety organizations—need to be as prepared as we can be to respond quickly and with the right tools to rescue people—very likely children—and protect by-standers and officers during such a possible active-shooter incident.”

As mentioned earlier, “There is currently no law enforcement specific vehicle mass-marketed that has the same ballistic properties. Without this armored rescue vehicle, the Davis Police Department is not able to respond into an active-live fire situation to either perform extraction, rescue, or threat elimination without extreme risk to the officers and any involved persons.”

Chief Landy Black added, “As with all new equipment, procedures, and strategies adopted by the Department, operating guidelines and procedures will be developed to ensure proper and well-purposed uses, consistent with City, Department, and community philosophy.”

The council and the public’s response remains to be seen.

From Councilmember Frerichs’ perspective, “Additional details regarding the process and timeline of its acquisition are still forthcoming, and I have raised a number of questions with the Police Chief and the City Manager as to the appropriateness and need for such a tool. I anticipate knowing more in depth information in the coming days, and look forward to discussing the matter further, at that time.”

For Councilmember Brett Lee, the key is matching the approach and equipment to the situation. “We often read the inappropriate use of Tasers on individuals who are peaceably protesting. That is unacceptable.”

“When we peaceably assemble to protest the aerial spraying of pesticides or tuition increases, the use of riot gear, armored vehicles, etc. is not acceptable in my opinion,” he said. “If on the other hand if we have an armed individual or individuals that are actively threatening our safety, by all means let’s make use of the appropriate tools and protective equipment in a responsible manner.”

“I think we as a community want the police to use the tactics and equipment appropriate to the situation,” Councilmember Lee stated. “While the image of a military armored vehicle can understandably cause us unease, it is my understanding that it will only be used under very exceptional circumstances.”

And the concern that reports from the ACLU and others lay out is mission creep, where the law enforcement entities make use of the tools they have in ways that they never envisioned. That will be a task that the council and community will have to weigh in on through in the coming weeks.

—David M. Greenwald reporting

About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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112 thoughts on “Police Militarization Comes to Davis”

  1. BrianRiley429

    Let’s get a city ordinance passed to limit the use of that thing to only those situations that the chief of police mentioned, otherwise mission creep will surely set in.

      1. Rich RifkinWDE 73

        The City Council does not hire or fire the police chief. Part of the problem in Davis is we have folks willing to tell others what to do, but don’t seem to have any understanding of how our system of government works.

        1. BrianRiley429

          Then the fire the city manager if the city manager refuses to fire the police chief. I’m sure it is in the ultimate purview of the city council. That’s called “democracy”.

          1. Rich RifkinWDE 73

            This is starting to sound like Nixon’s Saturday Night Massacre, where one by one people were fired until Nixon found someone willing to fire the special prosecutor investigating Nixon.

          2. BrianRiley429

            Your comment is absurd. Nixon committed felonies and was trying to cover up. This has nothing to do with that.

          3. TrueBlueDevil

            I think this has been surpassed by multiple IRS computers all magically malfunctioning at the same time. Then being destroyed, against protocol.

  2. South of Davis

    Looking at the photo above I know what the Davis police will be driving next time they need to ask a guy mowing his lawn if he is the owner of the house…

  3. Offering Balance

    Chief Black spelled out a logical case and explained how the vehicle can be used to save lives.

    Mr Wolk apparently made his comments before listening to Chief Blacks logical explanation of why the vehicle is needed. Mr Wolk’s opinion can also be quickly dismissed as it is uniformed. Davis did not receive a tank.

    Brett Lee’s comment about due process is out of place but he came around and used logic in he response, I applaud him.

    1. Davis Progressive

      every single jurisdiction that has operated and owned such weaponry has probably rationalized it in those terms and yet we see how these weapons are deployed.

    2. wdf1

      Chief Black spelled out a logical case and explained how the vehicle can be used to save lives.

      I am not a law enforcement professional, but his explanation of needing such equipment against an active shooter puzzles me. It seems like a situation of using a sledgehammer when a scalpel is more appropriate. I think of an active shooter is relatively light and mobile, possibly able to go into buildings and jump chain link fences. I don’t see how this tool (the military vehicle) would be effectively used in such a situation.

  4. Barack Palin

    It should be looked at as a possible life saving vehicle. Like stated in the article, there’s a much greater chance of a mass type shooting than there is of a oil rail car accident yet our city is trying to take steps against that occurance.

          1. Barack Palin

            Looking at that another way, can one ever be too safe? Is one being too paranoid if they want better safety standards for the oil trains traveling through our city?

          2. Davis Progressive

            you’re asking the wrong question when you ask if anyone can ever be too safe? what’s the greater risk – safety or liberty? i’m sorry – i work for the government and because of that, i don’t trust it to protect liberty.

          1. Barack Palin

            I guess it all lies in where you stand, I happen to think that the odds are greatly in the favor of our local police dept. using the vehicle for saving lives where as the usual local crowd that despises the police will think it’ll be used for bad.

          2. Davis Progressive

            i think the chance is far more remote that we’ll use it to save lives versus the risk of infringing on rights

  5. Biddlin

    I’m unaware of any LEOs that have shown restraint in the use of urban assault vehicles, once so equipped. This is another consequence of the lazy practices citizens have come to accept from their police. Get rid of 80% of lieutenants and above ranks and put those freed resources into community service officers and more patrol and you wouldn’t need all the crap they “score” from the military. As I’ve stated before, I think police services could easily and effectively be contracted out to sworn private security, with more direct accountability to the public than now exists.
    ;>)/

      1. Don Shor

        Yes, of course. How have small-city police departments ever gotten along without MRAP’s before now? Perhaps they should ask for ten more, because one just isn’t enough. I mean, they might need to encircle a building during a siege or something.
        As I said: rationalizations. I’d be curious what the annual maintenance is on something like this. Do they need to get it out, drive it around every now and then? Keep the engine fluids changed? Have special staff training as to how to use it?

      2. Rich RifkinWDE 73

        They won’t ever need it. They might, however, make an excuse to use it one time.

        Cops, of course, have every right in the course of their jobs to want to have equipment which allows them to do their jobs safely. However, like with so much in the rest of our society, where fear-mongering breeds excessive risk-averse behavior, it seems to me that local police agencies in the past 25 years have amped up their armaments as their willingness to take risks has fallen. They will often make up the excuse–with no factual substantiation–that criminals are more heavily armed today than they were in days of yore. But that is bogus. When was the last time you saw a thief in Davis firing off RPGs? The reality is that cops are just buying into fear and responding with military force.

          1. South of Davis

            TBD wrote:

            > Do you think it would have been helpful in the recent
            > high-powered robbery in Stockton?

            I read that the recent Stockton robbery (where the police shot a hostage) involved them chasing a Ford Explorer at high speeds. I think the robbers would have been easily out run a huge armored vehicle with an Explorer…

          2. Rich RifkinWDE 73

            No. Certainly not. Stockton has tanks and other military equipment, too. They did not use it in that shootout.

            I am not sure what the police in Stockton in that instance could have done differently. It’s a tragedy that they ended up shooting and killing the hostage, who they say was being used as a shield for one of the bank robbers. Ideally, the police would have held their fire as long as the hostages were at risk. However, because the gunmen, who had semi-automatic rifles*, were firing at them and a grave threat to the public, the police had no choice but to fire back.

            _________________

            *Thanks to the gun lobby and its supporters in the NRA, citizens can own military weapons like the AK-47 assault rifle. No one owns or needs an AK-47 or any other weapon of war for personal protection. Criminals buy these (often at gun shows, without background checks) in order to kill people, including cops. Non-criminals who own assault rifles either just collect them and keep them locked up in their homes or they use them for target practice at a gun range.

            IMO, assault rifles should be banned entirely, along with magazines with hold more than 6 bullets. I would make an exception, however, for owning one and keeping it stored at a gun range, where it could be retrieved for purposes of target practice or competition shooting. … We banned machine guns, because they are weapons of war. It is insane that we let private individuals own and possess assault rifles, which also are weapons of war.

          3. South of Davis

            Rich wrote:

            > Thanks to the gun lobby and its supporters in the NRA,
            > citizens can own military weapons like the AK-47 assault
            > rifle. No one owns or needs an AK-47 or any other weapon
            > of war for personal protection.

            A private citizen can not own an “automatic” “weapon of war” they can just own a semi-automatic weapon that while they may “look” “scary” an AK-47 or AR-15 actually have less killing power than a typical wood stock (not scary looking) “hunting rifle”. I don’t own a rifle or hunt, but I have a lot of friends who do (and my Dad is a big target shooter who can explain how a bullet from an elk hunting rifle will go through more parked cars than even the ammo that the US has in their AR-15s and the Russians have in their AK-47s)…

          4. Barack Palin

            I read that a few store owners stood out in front of their businesses in Ferguson with AK-47’s and surprisingly weren’t looted like so many of the other stores.

          5. Don Shor

            I read that some peaceful protesters took it upon themselves to protect stores from looting, and they apparently had no need of AK-47’s to do that.

          6. Davis Progressive

            i read where some of the protesters actually helped the police by blocking the looters from getting into the stores.

          7. South of Davis

            DP wrote:

            > that’s just semantics sod and you know it

            A “military” full-auto M-16 can shoot 800 rounds in a minute.

            A “civilian” semi-auto AR-15 that “looks” exactly the same as a M-16 (with a CA legal 10 round clip) would have a tough time getting 50 rounds off in a minute. (just a few more less powerful rounds per minute than grandpa’s .308 “deer gun” made in the 1950’s that has a 5 round clip).

            If you think there is no difference between 50 rounds a minute and 800 rounds a minute then “that’s just semantics”…

          8. wdf1

            Rifkin: They won’t ever need it. They might, however, make an excuse to use it one time.

            I suggest that the one time be as a Picnic Day Parade float. Paint the thing all over in bright paisleys and invite the Shriners’ clown squad to ride on top and to march around it.

            But then also put an official Davis Police Department sign on it somewhere so that we can know who made the “float” possible and give them due recognition.

            You’re welcome.

          9. TrueBlueDevil

            Korean shop owners protected their small businesses in South Central LA with AK-47s during the Rodney King riots, some standing on the rooftops. Kinda bad azz.

          10. Rich RifkinWDE 73

            TBD: My memory, perhaps faulty, is that those Korean store owners had handguns and shot guns. More importantly, in terms of intimidating looters, there were dozens of armed gunmen defending those Korean stores. It was not the case that one person was protecting each business.

          11. South of Davis

            I thought I remembered a few photos with AK-47s…

            The Wikipedia says:

            “Mr. Yong Kim, leader of the Korea Young Adult Team of Los Angeles, which purchased five AK-47s, stated, “We made a mistake last year. This time we won’t. I don’t know why Koreans are always a special target for African-Americans, but if they are going to attack our community then we are going to pay them back”

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1992_Los_Angeles_riots

  6. Alan Miller

    Nice timing rolling this out, dumb asses.

    This is the City of the Orange Pepper Spray mistake. I have watched hours of footage from every angle and spoke with numerous witnesses, the stories matched, from witnesses to protestors. I walked into the Campus police station the morning after the incident and spoke to the watch commander and demanded an explanation, he lied to me. I wrote an opinion piece for the Davis Enterprise. The police and the campus policy makers were in the wrong on numerous fronts. And Linda Katehi still needs to be fired for that mess.

    Now I ask all of you: Given that numerous dangerous out of town dirty male protestors were thought to be sleeping in tents with naive freshman college “girls” on the quad (I am sarcastically overparaphrasing one of the ridiculous and outright wrong justifications used for marching onto the Quad in formation with riot gear), do you think, if this TANK had been available, that it would have shown up on the Quad that day?

    We as a city and as a campus have apparently learned nothing about approaching a situation with a military stance, when diffusing the tension is the correct tactic.

    “This is not militarization.” You can usually tell what something IS, by the opposite of what a public official has to go out of their way to state what something is not.

    It has already been shown in numerous cities: when these tanks are available, the cops want to use them. It’s fun. The problem is that the first purpose of the military and military equipment is to overwhelm and destroy the enemy; the first purpose of civilian police and equipment is to diffuse a tense situation.

    A tank does not diffuse tension.

    I call on each and every City Councilmember to order the Davis City Police Department to send this TANK back from where it came. No good can come of this.

  7. TrueBlueDevil

    A vehicle like this may have been helpful recently in Stockton.

    The ACLU ignores the fact that while overall crime may have dropped, we also have an explosion in gangs, and certain cases where criminals are armed with high-powered weapons.

    On a related note, why is out military getting rid of a $700,000 vehicle in good condition with low mileage?? Is this government stupidity, or is this another step by Obama to emasculate our military?

    1. Rich RifkinWDE 73

      “A vehicle like this may have been helpful recently in Stockton.”

      Since Stockton, too, has tanks and never used them in the situation you claim a tank would have been helpful, I think it is pretty obvious your contention in that instance is wrong.

  8. South of Davis

    TBD wrote:

    > On a related note, why is out military getting rid of a $700,000
    > vehicle in good condition with low mileage??

    In 1961 President Dwight D. Eisenhower said: “In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military industrial complex.”

    A few years back I said: “It is just not worth it to keep a boat and (old Suburban) tow vehicle at the cabin in Tahoe since it costs more to keep them both running, registered and insured than to just rent a ski boat when we want to go water skiing or wakeboarding” (this does NOT include the cost my hours of Labor to change the oil, fix leaks and change the hard to get to cooling impeller on the boat every couple years).

    What we have today is the “military industrial complex” (and their GOP pals) getting together with the “public sector unions” (and their Dem. pals) to set up a “win win” for the defense contractors and the unions. The defense contractors get to sell (overpriced) new stuff to the military and continue to sell (overpriced) spare parts to “small town USA”. The overpriced spare parts are installed by overpaid public sector union mechanics who also get time off from actual working to get training on repairing the new military toys and the union cops get to do fun military training (often getting OT to push their pay in to the “top 1%) with the cool new “toys”.

    P.S. When you run out of small towns to give the stuff to you can also increase profits (and the kickbacks also knows as “perfectly legal campaign contributions”) by just blowing up the stuff you sold the US a couple years ago:
    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-08-19/how-much-does-it-cost-us-blow-american-weapons

  9. Scheney

    If it was repainted to look like a cow, it would be available for use when an armed madman is holed up and shooting at people, but it would be unlikely that it would be pulled out to intimidate people at a rally. The City Council should mandate that it be repainted at once.

  10. Clem Kadiddlehopper

    Come on. Admit it, all of you deep down have always wanted a vehicle like this! In all seriousness, the Davis Police Department is never going to use the thing. Just the cost to buy the special bullet proof and explosion proof tires for this beast is enough to choke a horse.

    1. Davis Progressive

      if they’re never going to use it, then the cost maintain it and train people on it means they shouldn’t do it. the problem is the temptation to use it.

  11. Alan Miller

    “Mayor Dan Wolk added, “I can’t imagine why Davis needs a tank. It’s in a city garage and I hope it stays there.”””

    No, it needs to be melted down for scrap.

  12. Frankly

    With UCD pulling in more foreign students to fund their bloated administration costs, combined with the rise in Islamic extremists willing to do almost anything to get themselves close to as many high-value innocent targets and set off explosives, I think those complaining about the existence of this tool are fools.

    It is not a “weapon”. The armaments have been removed.

    I hope to never have to use my life insurance policy, but I have it.

    Get over your symbolism and get real.

    1. Mark West

      One thing that I was taught by my father was that you should use tools correctly and always use the right tool for the job. This “tool” as Frankly refers to it was designed for war, and unless you believe that the citizens of Davis are about to foment a revolution over plastic bags, wood smoke and leaky pools, there is no ‘job’ that this ‘tool’ can be correctly applied to here in town.

      Fear mongering may be great for politics, but it is a poor excuse for policy.

      1. Frankly

        So what tool do you recommend then for law enforcement to use for a hostage standoff or a bomb or terrorist encounter?

        This is just an armored truck.

        The police also have M16s or similar… basically just a gun. They have bullet-proof vests and walkie taklies. Guess what? You can make the case that all of these tools are “designed for war”. I think your argument is on very shaky ground.

        I do agree that I want to understand the cost of operation and maintenance and if too much, I am not in favor of this tool. And I also agree that there is a low probability of it being needed… just like there is a low probability for my family needing the death benefit of my life insurance policy.

        But the fire department has ladder trucks that have as much probability of being needed in this town.

        1. Don Shor

          So what tool do you recommend then for law enforcement to use for a hostage standoff or a bomb or terrorist encounter?

          I assume the feds take over at that point.

          1. Don Shor

            I would assume they’re better trained for things like that. I really don’t think local police departments are appropriate for handling the things you described. In fact, they don’t even seem to be very good at crowd control.

          2. Davis Progressive

            “So what tool do you recommend then for law enforcement to use for a hostage standoff or a bomb or terrorist encounter?”

            seems like we manage to handle those situations without military equipment.

        2. Barack Palin

          Frankly, how expensive can it be when it’s hardly if ever going to be used? It’s going to drive a few miles a year, just have to start it up once in awhile to keep things lubed and the batteries charged. Not that expensive. It’s not like the DPD is going to take it to elementary school show and tell days like our firetrucks.

          1. Frankly

            Good point. But a vehicle that just sits around is not going to be in reliable working order if and when it is really needed. I would expect them to have to train with it. And to keep it in working order.

            Parts for a $600k vehicle are likely to be expensive.

          2. TrueBlueDevil

            Will this be used like firemen using fire trucks to go to the grocery store?

            I’d love to see a picture of this thing in front of the Davis Coop.

        3. Mark West

          “just like there is a low probability for my family needing the death benefit of my life insurance policy.”

          Whether or not your family will ‘need’ the benefit is debatable. The fact that you are going to die at some point is not.

  13. Alan Miller

    “Preparedness, akin to the approach we as community want to take with regard to the oil trains, cannot be under-valued just because this is peaceful Davis.”

    How do we as a community “want” to respond to oil trains? I’ll tell you how *I* would like to respond to both: BE GONE.

    “The chief added, “In fact, as a relative comparison, the likelihood of an active shooter incident occurring in one of our public schools or at UCD is probably ten times more likely to occur than an oil train derailment that results in explosion or fire.”

    I’d like to see his math . . .

    “By my rough count, there have been thirteen or more active-shooter incidents, causing 13 deaths and 25 people suffering gunshot wounds at schools/colleges in the U.S. so far in 2014, while only one rail car derailment that resulted in fire.”

    Um, if you include 2013, there have been half a dozen oil train derailments that resulted in huge fireballs, one of which killed 47 people. A very strange comparison whatever the statistics.

    Maybe we could use the tank: to fire on the first oil train as it approaches Davis. Then let the tank burn in the resulting inferno.

  14. Alan Miller

    “When we peaceably assemble to protest the aerial spraying of pesticides or tuition increases, the use of riot gear, armored vehicles, etc. is not acceptable in my opinion,” . . . “If on the other hand if we have an armed individual or individuals that are actively threatening our safety, by all means let’s make use of the appropriate tools and protective equipment in a responsible manner. I think we as a community want the police to use the tactics and equipment appropriate to the situation,” . . . “While the image of a military armored vehicle can understandably cause us unease, it is my understanding that it will only be used under very exceptional circumstances.”

    Really, Brett? Are you F-ing kidding me? The only way to prevent “our tank” from being used inappropriately is not to have a tank. I again submit that had a tank been available for loan at Linda Katehi’s request, it would have been on the UCD Davis Quad on November 18th, 2011. Protect the police from unknowns in tents with possible weapons . . . . blah, blah, blah . . . we need to test our tank in the field . . . blah, blah, blah, viola! Justification! Students vs. a tank. Nice.

    1. Mark West

      Some of us have been around long enough to remember when the Governor called out tanks (the real deal) to break up a peaceful demonstration. It was great for politics (he went on to become the President after all), but that does not diminish the damage that was done to the community by his actions.

      We do not need large military vehicles to deal with civilian problems.

      1. tj

        It’s doubtful a tank like this would have been of any help at Sandy Hook or Virginia State.

        The city resolution approved “conventional” police activity, but this tank doesn’t look like it’s for anything conventional.

        Wonder what the cost of transport was and who paid?

  15. Alan Miller

    It occurred to me that the long-time symbol for UC Davis has been the campus water TANK. Perhaps the city’s new symbol could be our new armored TANK.

    Are there any talented political cartoonists in the audience this evening?

    Perhaps our new armored TANK atop water TANK supports, with kneeling students locked-arm-in-arm below, covered in bright orange paint, with figures on the side of the TANK in military garb holding machine guns, riding Ferguson-style, labeled with the names of the Davis police figures responsible for this acquistion, and the names any City council members who continue to show any support for this concept whatsoever. The caption could be, “The New Davis”.

    1. Barack Palin

      Better yet Clem, Don Shor sarcastically suggested that why not get ten more of them, I think he was on to something. Keep one and sell the other 10 off to other countries for say $100,000 each and put the windfall in our general fund. Talk about a win-win.

      1. Alan Miller

        Wow, I just reread this thread and realized the unintended double entendre in the above statement, which could be taken as an insult to the police. While that is kind of funny (heh, heh), mainly that I wrote it so quickly I didn’t notice (and maybe no one else did until I stupidly pointed it out), I wish to clarify I am generally pro-police, especially field officers, and I could list numerous examples of various levels of working with or supporting the police to make my point, but I won’t. I will say I would NEVER use that term, even privately. I literally was speaking of dressing something up to look like something it is not, period.

        No, I’m not backpaddling. I am very critical of the chief or whomever made this decision, and I am always strongly against the misuse of police power. I have had almost all positive experiences with Davis Police, and note some of them questioned the tactics before the 11-8-2011 incident. I even had a positive dialog with Lt. Pike (I have no idea what to conclude from that) pre-11-8-2011. One Davis cop even saved my ass once by realizing what was really going on in a situation and making a wise decision — thanks you know who you are. I have found most Davis Cops are good at tension reduction techniques, and I applaud that.

        This is all about militarization of the arsenal — something I violently (pardon the purposefully over-the-top word) oppose.

        1. Frankly

          The point is that it is common. Police departments across the country are using the very same tool. So you need to explain your “misuse of police power” accusation. Are you starting a national crusade to eliminate the use of this tool, or are you just holding the Davis chief and PD to a different set of standards.

          1. Alan Miller

            “misuse of police power” I was referring to 11-18. Separate issue here is I am opposed to militarization of the arsenal, tools of war for civilian police forces.

  16. yeahmyam

    Since we own it we might as well think of ways to use it. Parades, street sweeping, code enforcement, frat parties, advertising, incorporate into Gateway arch

    1. DavisBurns

      I say we fill it with dirt and make a planter out of it. Park it near the historic Davis underpass. Then people coming I to town would know we make gardens not war.

      1. tribeUSA

        Davisburns–ha ha, I like your idea; and I agree with the prominent display.

        Though I must confess I have had Calvin (of Calvin & Hobbes cartoon fame)-style fantasies about having my own tank; and barelling over and thru anything that gets in my way, including traffic jams, while remaining invulnerable and unstoppable. I just hope the police don’t harbor irresistable fantasies of this type!

    1. Frankly

      In eagerness to add more top-tuition-paying foreign students to help fund its bloated administrative costs, UCD will increase the risk that one of them is a terrorist recruit.

      Why is that so hard to understand?

        1. Frankly

          That too.

          In fact, liberals might want to rethink their position on this tool. Those gun-totin’ conservatives are very riled up these days. There are not many of them in Davis, but they may come here from the more conservative foreign lands of Woodland, Dixon and West Sacramento to make a point.

  17. eastdavis

    Well if the armored vehicle is valued at over $600,000 and the city got it for free, maybe they can sell it and use the $ to fix our leaking city pool and pave over our crumbling streets and potholes…

  18. DavisBurns

    In all seriousness, there was a small act if civil disobedience at my house the other night. Three poixe cars and six policemen and a spotlight showed up. These guys are BORED! Do NOT give them toys. A decade ago while living with my special needs kids in Moraga, their police showed up in riot gear to speak to an autistic teenager. If they have that shit, they WANT to use it and they look for any excuse. Put it on craigslist. We don’t want it and having it puts us at risk.

  19. Tia Will

    “with no factual substantiation”

    I think Rich may have made the most compelling statement of all. What I would like to see from Chief Black is not speculation about the possible uses of this piece of equipment but actual data. I want actual numbers of cases in which such a vehicle has actually prevented or limited the loss of life in a shooter incident. How many times has it actually saved lives in a community comparable to Davis.
    Just because you have a new fancy piece of equipment does not mean that it is necessarily better than the old way of managing a problem. I want to see the data. And I think that accepting such a piece of equipment without at least City Council pre approval is absolutely unacceptable. My immediate reaction is to want this vehicle designed for war, not community protection out of our town immediately since I feel much less safe with its presence. However, I do understand that my emotional reaction does not represent a rationale reaction any more than the emotional reaction of those who feel safer with its presence.
    Let the police present some actual data, and those of us opposed who are knowledgeable in this area present our data and lets decide this in an evidence rather than ideologically based manner.

    1. Frankly

      Prior to 9/11/2001, someone in the FBI and CIA had requested changes to our airport security due to the assessment of increased risk of terrorism. Those requests were rejected due to the lack of historical data to back their concerns.

      The daughter of a mother and other female relatives that all had breast cancer was denied preventative treatment until she developed a tumor.

  20. Pingback: Petition to Get Rid of Armored Vehicle Launched on Change.org | .:Davis Vanguard:.

  21. Pingback: Mayor Pro Tem Robb Davis Speaks Out on MRAP | .:Davis Vanguard:.

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