Yolo County Sheriff Requests Its Own MRAP

The infamous Davis MRAP

A little over two years after the acquisition of an MRAP (Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected vehicle) by the Davis Police Department – which caused a huge outpouring of criticism of them for acquiring the vehicle, unbeknownst to the council, and ultimately led to not one but two votes to return the vehicle in the fall of 2014 – the Yolo County Sheriff is making the request to acquire its own vehicle.

Unlike the situation in Davis, this will be done with a full discussion of the County Board of Supervisors and transparency.

The item will come before the board next week at their Tuesday meeting.  The staff report notes, “The National Defense Authorization Act of 1997 allows for the transfer of excess Department of Defense property, that might otherwise be destroyed, to law enforcement agencies across the United States and its territories for use in counter drug and terrorism activities.

“Through the LESO (Law Enforcement Support Office) Program, local law enforcement agencies (LEAs) can search and request excess equipment online through the Defense Logistics Agency’s property search application,” the report notes. “No equipment is purchased through LESO, all items are held as reserve stocks by the Federal government until no longer needed. The LEA’s ability to participate is certified by a state coordinator at the Office of Emergency Services. Permission to apply for this certification is now being requested.

“If approved, the Sheriff’s Office is interested in acquiring a MRAP vehicle,” the county notes. “This will be used to safely respond to scenes where approach in a vehicle that can withstand explosive devices is necessary. These situations can include active shooters, hostage rescue, bomb threats, natural disasters, and other critical incidents.”

They explain, “Main use of the vehicle would be by the Yolo County Sheriff’s Office SWAT Team, but would also be available to support the multi-jurisdictional Explosive Ordinance Disposal Team as well as any other incorporated cities and outlying agencies upon request. Board approval to accept this vehicle, if awarded, is also being sought at this time.”

During a community discussion held in November 2014, then-Assistant Police Chief Darren Pytel explained, “The MRAP is a mine resistant armored vehicle, basically it’s ambush protection. So it’s rated to stop rifle rounds, high powered weaponry and explosives.”

For the Davis Police, if they had to use a SWAT team or do a raid, they would have armor protection. The soft-body armor that they have does not protect them from some of the rounds that they see.

The vehicle is about 20 feet long and 9 feet high and can fit a SWAT team of eight, which can quickly deploy out of the rear of the vehicle. “Our plan was to do rapid exit from the vehicle when we needed to get close to a situation where we wanted to deploy our SWAT team.”

The city police ended up bringing in two MRAPs from other jurisdictions (one being the one transferred from Davis to Woodland, the other from West Sacramento) in March 2015 in response to what they thought was a potential hostage situation, but turned out to be a murder-suicide.

According to the staff report from the county, “There  is no cost to the Sheriff’s Office to apply for certification in the LESO Program, and no equipment will be purchased through the LESO Program. Should the Sheriff’s Office be awarded an MRAP vehicle, any outfitting or repair costs will be built into the regular budget cycle. The Sheriff’s Office will return for Board approval if any equipment associated with the MRAP vehicle over the fixed asset threshold needs to be purchased.”

This request comes at a time when the new Trump administration may be looking to beef up the deployment of militarized police forces.  Following the over-response at Ferguson, Obama issued Executive Order 13688 which greatly restricted the provision of military equipment to local police departments as well as creating oversight mechanisms for its use.

However, following shootings in San Bernardino and Dallas, Republican House Members and local sheriffs criticized the mandate, believing it put security and local law enforcement at a disadvantage.

Donald Trump as a candidate pledged to remove these barriers.  However, to date, President Trump has not issued an executive order rescinding the Obama policy.

—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.

Related posts

20 thoughts on “Yolo County Sheriff Requests Its Own MRAP”

  1. Keith O

    This request comes at a time when the new Trump administration may be looking to beef up the deployment of militarized police forces.  Following the over-response at Ferguson, Obama issued Executive Order 13688 which greatly restricted the provision of military equipment to local police departments as well as creating oversight mechanisms for its use.

    Obama’s executive order didn’t restrict the provision of MRAP’s to police departments.

    1. David Greenwald Post author

      It restricted police departments’ access to certain surplus military gear, including armored vehicles, grenade launchers and combat weapons.

        1. David Greenwald Post author

          That is correct, but the article was not suggesting it was. It was simply putting the issue into the broader context on the debate of police militarization.

        2. Keith O

          But the article made it sound like Trump would be responsible for the rollout of MRAP’s if he were to change Obama’s executive order when in fact Obama’s order didn’t stop their provision to begin with.

        3. David Greenwald Post author

          I did not write that.  The key sentence: “This request comes at a time when the new Trump administration may be looking to beef up the deployment of militarized police forces.”  You’re reading into it things that were not intended.

  2. Tia Will

    I am hoping that on our city and regional level that we will not choose to expand the militarization of our police. The one deployment that we saw here in Davis was based on an incorrect assessment of the situation. In our area, we see far more cases of misjudgments on the part of the police about the dangerousness of individuals resulting in harm or death to those individuals than we do circumstances in which the police require explosive protective vehicles. Again, I would urge our law enforcement to make accurate risk/benefit assessments rather than choices based on fear and “but what if” thinking.

    1. Keith O

      Again, I would urge our law enforcement to make accurate risk/benefit assessments rather than choices based on fear and “but what if” thinking.

      That’s called being prepared.

      1. Tia Will

        That’s called being prepared.”

        Being “prepared” does not mean that the equipment or resources will be used wisely or in appropriate cases as the Davis MRAP deployment demonstrated.
        “Preparation” for the wrong risk can be both costly and dangerous. The medical example of this was Ebola in which many millions of dollars were squandered on an epidemic in West Africa which was never a serious concern for us here. Our “preparation” wasted millions that could have been spent on needed care in this country. It provided false reassurance with no real value while sapping our resources.

         

  3. Cory Copeland

    Has there been a situation in recent Yolo County history that would have demanded the use of an MRAP?  I am worried that this is a solution looking for a problem.

    1. darelldd

      What has been needed, and is still needed today, is a proper SWAT van. Same answer for Davis and Yolo. The issue is that buying that specialized SWAT vehicle new is wildly expensive. Buying a surplus MRAP is wildly inexpensive. Wrong tool for the job, but right price. And we know how everybody loves a bargain.

      Transporting SWAT teams in a “mine hardened” vehicle (for the city or county) as a proper way to “be prepared” is akin to having every officer carrying a shoulder-fired rocket launcher in their patrol cars “just in case.”

  4. Tia Will

    darlldd

    Thank you for my first out loud Vanguard induced laugh of the day. Or using a cheap saw from Ace when an expensive scalpel would be my instrument of choice. I am sure I could go on with this all day, but am sure everyone would rather I did not.

     

Leave a Reply

X Close

Newsletter Sign-Up

X Close

Monthly Subscriber Sign-Up

Enter the maximum amount you want to pay each month
$ USD
Sign up for