My View: Appalling Lack of Sensitivity to Community Values with Police Vehicle

DPD-Police-Vehicle

The timing of the disclosure could not have been worse from the city’s perspective and it is not without some irony that, had the city immediately disclosed the acquisition of the MRAP (Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected) vehicle when they acquired it, it might have avoided the conflation with Ferguson, Missouri, and spared the city some grief.

At the same time, as we have noted, the concern about the militarization of the police did not materialize in Ferguson. Radley Balko wrote a prominent piece in the Huffington Post last fall and the ACLU had their 88-page report from June 24 that we cited on Wednesday.

For those who are arguing that this is not a true military vehicle, the city staff report, written by Chief Landy Black notes, “The vehicle, 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.”

Chief Black argues, “While one feature of the vehicle is its mine resistance capabilities, it was acquired because its ambush (ballistic) protection makes it the perfect platform to perform rescues of victims and potential victims during active-shooter incidents, and to more safely deliver officers into active-shooter incidents, barricaded hostage crises, and/or other or environments involving armed offenders.”

While there are defenders of this acquisition, the fact that this vehicle is highly unlikely to be used, and requires great expense for upkeep and training, has led more pragmatic people to question its appropriateness.

However, I think the most appalling aspect of this entire saga is the utter political deafness to the political reality of bringing a military police vehicle into a community that has historically and presently been opposed to military operations – from its nuclear-free zone days to its present resolutions against armed conflict abroad.

To compound matters, the city council, the very body with the most connected ear to the community, was excluded from this decision. Councilmember Lucas Frerichs immediately expressed surprise as to this acquisition and Mayor Dan Wolk argued that he saw no need for the vehicle.

Chief Black justified this acquisition under 2009 City Council resolution 09-033 which he says “(renewed) 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).”

However, that resolution, which was passed on April 14, 2009, does not seem to imply that the city would get military equipment. The staff report states, “The Davis Police Department has participated for a number of years, and procured various items, from the Surplus State and Federal Property program administered by the State Department of General Services.”

The resolution itself simply states, “The City of Davis Police Department desires to participate in the State of California Dept. of General Services Surplus Personal Property Program.”

It continues, “The City of Davis is hereby authorized to participate in the State of California Department of General Services State and Federal Surplus Property Program” and it authorizes four officials “as city representatives to acquire surplus property through the auspices of the California State Agency for Surplus Property and accept responsibility for payment of incidental fees by the surplus property agency under the Terms and Conditions as listed on the attached documents.”

There is no mention in this resolution that this would mean the acquisition of “military equipment,” and it was a consent item and was never discussed. To use that to justify the acquisition of this vehicle without community discussion certainly falls within the realm of the resolution, but it ignores the political reality of the community.

The community outcry that has occurred is certainly predictable. Our initial article generated more web traffic and social media interactions than any article during the Nancy Peterson saga. It has been covered regionally on the Sacramento Bee and various news stations in Sacramento. And as we reported yesterday, there is now a Change.org petition.

My concern from the start is not that I think the police in Davis are going to use this vehicle as military equipment was used in Ferguson, but I do think there are dangers here.

A police spokesperson on one of the news stations in Sacramento indicated that this could be used to serve high risk warrants for people potentially armed and dangerous – that already starts to get away from active-shooter incidents and barricaded hostage crises.

Many have argued that if that unthinkable situation comes we should be prepared, but, like anything, planning for the worst case scenario needs to be mitigated against risk.

There are costs to training personnel to use the vehicle safely and keeping the vehicle in condition for use. In a time of budget crises, are these expenditures worthwhile against the remote possibility that they would ever be used?

The Chief, as we reported, made a strong case as to why we should have the vehicle, however, there are many downsides as well. There is the risk of mission-creep. We may have good intentions now, but we saw how quickly and easily the a relatively benign situation on the quad at UC Davis in November 2011 turned into a national incident.

There are civil liberty concerns that have been expressed in the national press regarding the use of such vehicle.

While the city of Davis could pass a resolution that severely restricts the use of the vehicle – what is to enforce that use in the future? The DA is reluctant to sanction law enforcement even for egregious violations of protocol such as the pepper spraying of unarmed protestors and the shooting of unarmed individuals.

Finally, we need to think long and hard as a community about the line between safety and tyranny. Tyranny is a big word, but Americans are very sensitive to the need to maintain the line between the military and police apparatus, and while military style vehicles may provide officers and even the public with a measure of safety, blurring the lines between police and military for some will hearken to issues of turning this nation into more of a police state and a military state.

I fear the day when we walk down the streets and see military vehicles as we attempt in vain to keep order in a chaotic and changing world.

In a city like Davis, you are turning a political blind eye and deaf ear to the realities that the citizens here are not going to be willing to have their police force turn to military weapons in the remote possibility that they might be needed and would work as advertised.

More realistic is the scenario painted in an email from a reader.

They wrote, “I have seen these tanks deployed on two occasions, both peaceful protests. Their presence was intimidating and rationalized by the police on both occasions as being because they had ‘information that dangerous people might be present in the crowd.’”

In my view, then, this was a mistake. And the mistake here I believe happened when the city manager’s office failed to inform the city council before this decision was made.

The police department has been making many strides in the last several years to improve their operations. I have tremendous respect for Chief Black, but, in this case, I do not believe this was a good idea. A military vehicle is a bad idea in many locations, but in a place like Davis, it is simply not going to be tolerated by the majority of citizens.

We ask the city council to rectify this situation and that the council amend resolution 09-333 to require council consent for any military equipment the city attempts to acquire.

—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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101 Comments

  1. rogerbockrath

    If the city owns this 2/3 $million military machine, how bout we sell it to Stockton or some place that NEEDS crowd control, and use the money to fix the leaks at Civic Pool.

  2. London

    Used to spend a good bit of time in Stockton; IMHO Stockton doesn’t need a tank, either.
    Davis got a lot of negative global attention a few years back when campus law enforcement sprayed poison in the faces of innocent, unarmed protesters exercising their civil right to assembly and free speech.
    Davis is now starting to heal from that ugly day. So what does the city do? It buys a huge Army toy, that is similar to a tank. Let’s not forget Tiananmen Square, folks.

    Agreed. Appalling lack of sensitivity.

      1. London

        Dear Mr. Coleman,
        I guess I see your point but it’s a little ironic to distinguish between good and bad behavior with the campus vs. the city cops when you are supposedly all brothers in arms and family wearing the blue uniform. To be picky re: Davis cops vs. campus cops means you don’t really see yourselves as the big family in blue….
        It’s painful for me to call out the cops but it is also my right as an American citizen to criticize them in a public forum, when they display bad behavior.

          1. London

            “You’re always so negative, how about a positive post for a change?”

            Palin, Often, not always. Copy and paste ten comments that you have written that have a shred of happiness, optimism, joy, positivity, hope, love of your village and your Davis neighbors.

            I can do that. I doubt you can.

          2. Barack Palin

            Here you are talking about avoiding Davis, the cops are so bad, militarization in Davis, etc., etc., etc. but then you want to call out other posters for being negative. Pot and the kettle.

          3. John

            Setting aside our recent mutual Sally Field moment Barack, London does have a point. In her posts she does mix in positive, up beat comments in amongst her comments that are focused on concerns. Your posts remind me of one of the famous Antonio Carlos Jobim songs on the Stan Getz, Charlie Byrd album Jazz Samba.

          4. Barack Palin

            Practical, I also post comments that might be considered upbeat if you come from my side of the political spectrum. Just because someone doesn’t agree with me doesn’t make my comments always negative, but one coming from a different political angle might see them as negative because of their biases.

        1. PhilColeman

          Fine. If that is your mission, so be it. But assign the bad behavior to the correct agency, please. Just because they wear the same color clothing does not mean they are equally and universally culpable.

  3. Tia Will

    David

    “The Chief, as we reported, made a strong case as to why we should have the vehicle, however, there are many downsides as well.”

    I am curious about how you think that Chief Black has “made a strong case” as to why we should have this vehicle.
    All you have reported is that he has provided a couple of scenarios in which he believes that it might be useful. Do you have more information on the data on which he is forming his opinion ? Are there examples, not of incidents in which individuals felt like a vehicle of this kind might have been useful, but of instances in communities similar to ours in which it has been useful ?

    We have, in our own back yard an example of how the police chose to use inappropriate equipment with which they were not adequately trained on seated protestors. I am still awaiting even one example from our own community in which this vehicle would have been more useful than the equipment already in the possession of our police force.

    I feel that I am probably becoming boring with my call for evidence ( not expert opinion ) based decision making. We demand this of our surgeons. We are increasingly demanding it of our firefighters on other threads right here on the Vanguard. And yet some here are willing to give a pass on this vehicle just because a senior police official states that he thinks it could be useful
    under some circumstance that we have yet to see in our community. I remain awaiting ” a strong case” including need, alternatives, cost effectiveness, side effects, and overall safety data. That is a minimum that I expect to be able to present to a patient when proposing a medical course of action. I expect no less from our police in what I see as a major change to the approach to the health and safety of our community.

    1. DavisVoter

      I agree that it’s fair to ask for evidence, not just a conclusion based on expertise. I personally worry about my ability to evaluate the evidence as a lay person. But I agree that if no evidence is put forward at all, that’s quite telling (and concerning).

    2. David Greenwald

      Strong guess is in the eye of the beholder, I thought he laid out his reasoning well. In the end, I think there are competing factors that outweight his points.

      1. Robert Canning

        I’m not exactly sure what a “strong” argument is. He has reasoning (“we need it because there might be occasion to use it.”) but there are a lot of things we might “need” because we might need it. For instance, does the police department have scuba gear – or the fire diepartment? We might need that, but what is the likelihood of that need. Chief Black’s rationale comes from the safety viewpoint, which has changed in the last fifteen years. The bar for intervention and use of force seems lower these days and the kind of force used appears to be different. But as the police departments gear up, one of the largest criminal justice organizations in the state – CDCR – is revising “down” their use of force policies to make it harder to throw a few pepper spray grenades in a cell or drag a mentally ill inmate out of a cell.

        And another thought – if we “need” an MRAP in a situation, do we need it immediately? Isn’t there something called mutual aid in firefighting? Medical services that are expensive like MRI’s are often shared by several agencies. God forbid we have an “active shooter incident” but not everybody needs an MRAP all ready to go.

  4. London

    I guess Yolo County also considered my home to be “high risk and dangerous” when it conducted a swat-like home invasion, to do an annual probation check on my family at 6:55 a.m., a few years ago, in South Davis. The happy day began with 6 or 7 heavily armed law enforcement crowding my tiny porch while one especially macho gentleman beat on my front door, screaming at the top of his lungs, “Open the door NOW, or I’ll kick it down.” 3 witnesses in the house with me can substantiate this truth.
    Thank God Davis did not own their tank back then.

      1. London

        TBD,
        I guess if my mistrust of the police machine in Davis kept me from filing a report, then it didn’t really happen? Should I file a report against the very officers who have input into whether the person in the home should be released from probation? That does not seem logical. It pains me to criticize the cops but that pain will not keep me silent.
        I choose David’s forum as an appropriate very public forum to express my disappointment in your local law enforcement. It is a safe place for me to vent. Don’t read my comments if you can’t handle them. I try very hard to shut up but when Davis acquires an army toy, i.e., tank, I won’t shut up.

    1. tribeUSA

      London–yikes; did you ask them and did they give any reason why they performed this heavy-handed probation search? I would agree that there should be ample just cause for such a swat-like approach, like they have evidence you are providing guns to terrorists. Could be somewhat adrenalin-producing and traumatizing, especially to small children who might be around. Did they have a warrant for a search? After you let them in, did they stomp about inside your home and trash it a bit in a search, and damage any of your property?

  5. BrianRiley429

    Another possibility exists, which is that the chief knew that this acquisition could fall flat and that he might have to get rid of it, but then after that people might be more willing to allow him to order other types of equipment of military origin since they would then say to themselves, “Well, at least it’s not as bad as the tank that we used to have.”

    1. Barack Palin

      Boy o boy, now it’s just one big conspiracy. The chief had this all planned out from the start, he actually wants a few bazookas. Are you people for real?

    2. John

      Brian, have you ever met Landy Black? Your comment above indicates that you are very good at seeing demons. Do you have any actual information (much less evidence) that such demons exist?

      In the initial story on this issue/event you were quick to post another knee-jerk reaction. “I think it might be time to fire the chief of police. […] The purchase of the vehicle was “over the top,” and shows that the chief has developed too much of a police-centric view of law enforcement. We need someone with a broader vision.”

      Your approach in both your comments appears to have the goal of silencing any and all community dialogue about what has happened thus far, and what we should do next. Very little, if any community dialogue will be accomplished when the starting point of the conversation is as hyperbolic as your comments have been.

      1. BrianRiley429

        OK, I think I know who you are now. Why don’t you just use your real name? I don’t agree with this business of people using pseudonyms to attack each other, but then pretend nothing happened when they meet in person. That’s not kosher.

        I’m not going to respond to any more pseudonymous comments on this website. Sorry. That’s it for me.

        1. London

          “Why don’t you just use your real name?”
          See David’s comments re: the use of pseudonyms.
          Not too sure I have ever had the pleasure of meeting you in person, Brian. It is remotely possible, but rather unlikely. I’m pretty good at remembering names. I like your real name. Sorry I can’t use my entire hyphenated name here.
          Lydia

        2. John

          Brian, you haven’t been attacked for even a millisecond. All the communication to you has been about the content of the assertions you have made. To date you have chosen to focus on everything but the question asked of you. Instead of injecting a layer of ad hominem diversion, Why don’t you just answer the question?

          “Are you basing that assertion of yours on this one vehicle acquisition event? Or are there other examples of “over the top” “police-centric views” that Chief Black has exhibited in recent history?”

          For the record, your assertion was, “I think it might be time to fire the chief of police. […] The purchase of the vehicle was “over the top,” and shows that the chief has developed too much of a police-centric view of law enforcement. We need someone with a broader vision.”

          1. BrianRiley429

            Falsely accusing people of believing in conspiracies, or failing that, “seeing demons,” is a blatant attempt to smear someone. I will have no part of it. Please don’t engage me again with a pseudonym.

          2. John

            Brian, you are again ducking the question.

            Further, you can not find a single instance or word in which I said or implied or intimated that you believe in a conspiracy.

            I did ask you if you had ever met Landy Black personally, because you were demonizing him. You are the one who called his actions “over the top” and you were the one who put that term into quotes. Further, you were providing no substantiation of your accusation that his actions as Police Chief warranted his immediate dismissal from his job.

            If you really want to disengage this conversation, the easiest way is to answer the question. Are you basing that assertion of yours on this one vehicle acquisition event? Or are there other examples of “over the top” “police-centric views” that Chief Black has exhibited in recent history?”

          3. BrianRiley429

            Alright, I see that I was mistaken and it was “Barack Palin” who made the conspiracy comment (above).

            I believe that I properly framed my original comments about the chief. I never made the claim that his actions in acquiring the armored vehicle should *necessarily* warrant his dismissal. Go back and read what I said. I said that that the Davis community *could* use this opportunity to make an example out of the chief to send a message to the rest of the country.

            Now, I *know* who you are. Please use your real name next time. If you’re going to bite into my leg and take up my time on all these side issues and partial misreadings on your part, I prefer that you use your real name. That way, you’ll be more careful in what you say and not waste my time.

          4. John

            Brian, your very first comment was “I think it might be time to fire the chief of police.”

            With respect to framing, your second comment was, “The purchase of the vehicle was “over the top,” and shows that the chief has developed too much of a police-centric view of law enforcement. We need someone with a broader vision.”

            With that framing established by you, I asked you, “Are you basing that assertion of yours on this one vehicle acquisition event? Or are there other examples of “over the top” “police-centric views” that Chief Black has exhibited in recent history?”

            It was a simple question that directly applied to your two comments. To use your term, it was a question that was “carefully” asked, and if you had simply answered it, your time would not have been wasted.

            With that said, are you going to answer it?

          5. BrianRiley429

            Now that proves your are the same person who used the pseudonym “Ginger” and pestered me on the July 26, 2013 thread (“Pike Filed Worker’s Compensation”). I’m sorry, but I’m not going to reward your behavior by giving an answer here. If you want an answer, then use your real name.

            Your M.O. is to try to tire someone out by subjecting them to and endless series of lawyer-like questions. I’m just not going to play along. I’m going to keep right ahead with the same approach that I’ve used along along, without regard to your pestering or attempts to sidetrack me.

            Now, please for God’s sake use your real name. I KNOW WHO YOU ARE! You are embarrassing yourself by continuing this.

          6. John

            Brian, following your “pointer” I went to the July 26, 2013 “Pike” thread. Here is what I found

            Ginger
            July 26, 2013 at 3:52 pm (Edit)

            [quote]” If you meant they chose to be pepper sprayed, then that’s mostly correct”

            Yes. That’s what I’ve been trying to say. (But I don’t think they should have been).[/quote]

            Me too and I totally agree.

            Thanks all for a nice discussion.

            B. Nice
            July 26, 2013 at 3:59 pm (Edit)

            “Thanks all for a nice discussion.”

            Ditto. I appreciate everyone’s different points of views and experiences.

            Brian Riley
            July 26, 2013 at 4:03 pm (Edit)

            Thanks, yes. It’s been a refreshingly candid and productive discussion.

            First, that is the very first time I have read that July 26 article and comment thread in my life.

            Second, given the words of both Ginger’s and your comments copied and pasted above, you don’t appear to be “pestered.”

      2. Tia Will

        John

        “Very little, if any community dialogue will be accomplished when the starting point of the conversation is as hyperbolic as your comments have been.”

        My feeling is that the community dialogue would have been accomplished before this vehicle ever made it to Davis. Had that occurred, we would not be having the dialogue after the fact regardless of the degree of hyperbole from either side.

        1. John

          Tia, if you replace the word “would” with the word “should” in the first sentence after the quote, then you and I agree 100%.

          There is a striking parallel between this event/process (from 2009 to present) and the Mace 391 event/process (from 2011 through June 2013). As George kennedy said to Paul Newman, “What we have here is a failure to communicate.”

  6. Frankly

    All we need is a remake of the Bill Ayers Weather Underground episodes to justify the existence of this vehicle. Many of the same people expressing moral outrage over this truck are also sympathetic to less than peaceful civil disobedience. Their activist outrage is simply that the police would have a tool to prevent their activist goals and aims.

    1. Don Shor

      Many of the same people expressing moral outrage over this truck are also sympathetic to less than peaceful civil disobedience.

      Since this is a local issue, I assume you’re referring to local residents. Who did you have in mind? Or is this just a generalization based on….?

        1. Tia Will

          Frankly

          “Many of the same people expressing moral outrage over this truck are also sympathetic to less than peaceful civil disobedience. Their activist outrage is simply that the police would have a tool to prevent their activist goals and aims.”

          I also would like a respond to Don’s question.
          I have spoken out against the process for acquisition of this vehicle as much as any poster on the Vanguard and yet not once have I expressed any “activist outrage”. I am truly wondering if you are referring to any one local or whether you are simply throwing out the usual “if they are left of me” they must think this way comment.

    2. Dave Hart

      Frankly, in your world everyone who is on the right side of history has full faith and loyalty to the power elite and resistance should be put down at any cost. Davis is not Ferguson. That doesn’t mean the people of Ferguson are wrong. There is no history of civil disobedience in Davis that justifies the use of an MRAP or even tear gas. A few years ago there was a labor demonstration on UCD campus that blocked an intersection and that incident was dealt with in a far better way than if there had been an MRAP available to show up and help escalate the situation to the point that would have resulted most likely in more violence. It’s a sprial.

      The only civilized way to deal with civil disobedience is to give people who have taken the time and risked their personal comfort to address a social wrong (in their opinion) a hearing, engage in dialogue and de-escalate emotions. You don’t do that with military garb. It scares the protesters who then become agitated which scares the police who act more aggressively and scare the protesters who get really angry and escalate which scare the police even more….

      1. Frankly

        Dave Hart – We are on the same train heading in the opposite direction.

        There is no more likelihood that the Davis PD would ever use this tool to put down local civil disobedience or protest than there is that the local disobedience or protest would turn violent and dangerous.

        But you don’t have to be a fanciful alarmist to think about all the potential scenarios where this tool might be useful. How about that Palestinian student that snaps over Hamas getting pummeled once again and takes several people hostage at Congregation Bet Haverim and demands that we force Israel to release militants from prison or he will start killing hostages?

        What about a school shooting where the gunman is still at large on campus or has hostages but with other potential victims that could be freed if we only had a tool like this?

        Sure, these things just don’t happen in our little peaceful hippie habitat. Right.

        1. Tia Will

          Frankly

          “to think about all the potential scenarios where this tool might be useful.”

          To think about something is fine. And then what is needed is the demonstration that your thoughts have real world utility.
          Some none military examples :
          1) I can see the possibility that an asthmatic child might have their respiratory status decline so rapidly that they die from exposure to fireplace smoke before they reach the hospital. Should we then ban all burning under all circumstances. I believe that you have argued against this.
          2) People have been struck and killed by cars and trucks in our community. Do we then ban cars and trucks. I believe you would argue against this.
          Good policy is not ( in my opinion) based on what we can imagine might happen. It is based on the probability of something occurring,the magnitude of the problem if it does occur, how effective “the tool” would be in this particular circumstance, how much “the tool costs” and whether or not there are other more effective and or less expensive “tools” or techniques that would accomplish the same goal.
          I have not seen these issues addressed.

        2. South of Davis

          Frankly wrote:

          > Sure, these things just don’t happen in our little peaceful hippie habitat. Right.

          They don’t happen (unless I have missed them and you can correct me by posting the links to the stories about synagogues and/or school takeovers by armed madmen in Davis).

          P.S. Maybe the Davis PD can get a “real” tank to shoot at any 747s taken over by terrorists that plan to strike terror in America by flying in to the “water” tank on the UCD campus…

        3. hpierce

          The other posters are ‘correct’… it could never happen here, or in a town that has 43,000 residents (92% W, 8.5% H, 1% B, 2% A), where the median family income is ~ $60k [Littleton, CO], or one of 25,000 residents (95% W, 2.5% H, 2% B, 1.5% A), where the median family income is ~ $110k [Newtown, CN].

          Not saying that such a vehicle would have changed the outcomes in those locations, but to say that “it couldn’t happen here in bucolic Davis”?

          I never would have thought about putting this vehicle on my wish list, but I can’t work myself up to “appalling”, much less suggest a ‘regime change’ is in order.

  7. gunrock

    I think this is a great acquisition and I am troubled by all the Tea Party people on this site being so opposed to the lawful use of equipment to protect our public employees.

  8. Biddlin

    Its purpose is not to protect (your) public employees, it is, principally, to intimidate you.The police think you are stupid at best and most likely dangerously criminally inclined. They believe that they are always right and will not consider any other possibility, particularly with a mere civilian(you). This attitude, if not entirely hired, is certainly taught, by FTOs and supervisors. Don’t believe it? Read comments on LEO blogs, like policeone.com.
    ;>)/

    1. Frankly

      That is BS Biddlin. The primary purpose of this vehicle is to protect its occupants as they work to defend or protect other people.

      I think you are out of line with your comments.

      If you are not engaged in criminal or unlawful activity, then why would you have any concern of intimidation?

        1. London

          “If you are not engaged in criminal or unlawful activity, then why would you have any concern of intimidation?”
          Tell that to the folks in Germany about 60 years ago.

          1. Tia Will

            ““If you are not engaged in criminal or unlawful activity, then why would you have any concern of intimidation?”

            Or a bit closer to home, Kent State where one of the dead was not even protesting, just passing through.

      1. Don Shor

        Civil disobedience, even when completely peaceful, is by definition unlawful. Sometimes police agencies over-react when people are engaged in civil disobedience in large numbers. Sometimes even when it is not completely peaceful, police agencies still over-react (May 3 1971, for example).
        The ‘concern of intimidation’ often reflects a concern that police agencies may over-react.

        1. London

          “…police agencies still over-react (May 3 1971, for example).”

          “May Day, 1971:Anti-war militants attempt to disrupt government business in Washington, D.C.; police and military units arrest as many as 12,000, most of whom are later released.”

          Interesting comment.

      2. Tia Will

        “Not saying that such a vehicle would have changed the outcomes in those locations, but to say that “it couldn’t happen here in bucolic Davis”?

        The problem here is that I don’t think anyone is saying that Davis is “too bucolic” for anything to happen here. I think that what is being called for is a rationale assessment of risk and how our monies should best be spent to protect and support our community.
        In a time of fiscal constraint, an armored vehicle would fall very, very low on my list of priorities.

          1. John

            Brian, instead of creating your own personal “ad hominem world” by worrying about who is asking you the question that you have been ducking for the past two days, why don’t you simply engage the issue and answer the question. It isn’t that hard to do. Try it, you’ll like it.

            BTW, I went back to the July 23, 2013 thread “Discussions on Race Going Forward Need to Focus on the Justice System” to see who Ginger was, and what she said, and based on the comments of hers that I read (copied below), I think your proposed tautology that John = Ginger is a swing and a miss.

            “One more example- once while volunteering at a clinic, I had to break the unfortunate news to a 14 year-old girl that she was pregnant. She? Was scared and upset. Her mom? Whooped happily because, as she told me, that was going to be more money coming in each month from Welfare.

            These aren’t isolated incidents. The despair in some of these communities is unfathomable to those of us who live in Davis and argue about plastic bag bans. The degree to which they are CONVINCED that they don’t have any options, and then proceed to make decisions based upon that is heartbreaking.”

            […]

            “Boys are diagnosed with learning disorders far more often than girls. They are prescribed Ritalin more than girls. They are expelled and held back more often. Girls outnumber boys on honor rolls and in AP classes. Girls matriculate into college in greater numbers than boys. (Sorry, I’m too lazy to look up actual stats. Heh.)

            Just the fact that, as you say, boys get a disproportionate amount of resources points alludes to this.”

            […]

            “As a female professional I don’t find it offensive to be referred to as a chick. Not at all. Call me a chick, call me, “dude.” Whatever.

            In fact, I know female professionals who’ve built successful brands AROUND the work “chick.”

            Females, whether professional or not, actually are able to be independent thinkers. Some certainly do find that term offensive. Others think it’s hysterical, find it quaint, couldn’t care less, etc.

            So let’s not pretend there is some universal female response. THAT? I do find offensive.”

            […]

            “What I am saying is that all women don’t think alike. Again…SOME women find the term “chick” condescending. Others? Don’t. Yet others? Use the term very successfully in their branding. Dixie Chicks comes immediately to mind.

            Are you saying ALL women find this term condescending, demeaning, and offensive? Because twice you’ve stated that as some type of universal female groupthink truth.”

            […]

            “There’s definitely a contingency that is really quick to speak up and point the finger FOR OTHERS (now I don’t know if B. Nice is a male or female…I’m speaking generally here and absolutely not directly to/about B. Nice) to show how intolerant/hateful their speech is.

            It’s often used as a way to shut down dissent. If a person’s speech is offensive/demeaning then they are by extension offensive/demeaning…and thus an oppressor and should be summarily dismissed.

            Even when there isn’t any actual hateful words being uttered, we start hearing that a term is “code” for hate speech. One of the more absurd recent examples is the MSNBC commentator that said people complaining about Obama golfing too often are racists…because who is a well known black golfer? Tiger Woods! And then there was some convoluted explanation about how the racists really wanted to say “angry black man” but instead complained about golf.

            I’m not readily offended, don’t really appreciate when others are offended on my behalf, and I think this whole “I’m offended so you need to shut up” tactic is really old and stale.”

        1. hpierce

          Tia… as I said, it wouldn’t have made my wish list. Yet I am ‘incensed’, not.

          Jim Frame did an estimate of community sentiment… here’s mine:

          5% adamantly opposed, 15% wouldn’t have chosen it–send it back, 5% strongly in favor of it, 10% now that we have it, can we keep it?, 40% unsure/whatever, 40% don’t know and/or don’t care.

      3. Tia Will

        Frankly

        “The primary purpose of this vehicle is to protect its occupants as they work to defend or protect other people.”

        True. And it apparently had a least some utility for that purpose in Afghanistan where it seems to have saved some lives in the case of pressure triggered explosive devices. This is not the concern here is Davis.
        The issue is whether or not this particular vehicle, with all its pros, cons, costs and benefits is the optimal choice for Davis. This is the case that I believe should have been made before the vehicle was acquired.

      1. Barack Palin

        Cops in Davis are polite all the time, in fact I recently received a seat belt ticket in which the cop was very polite and professional, though I hated to get the ticket.

  9. Alan Miller

    “The timing of the disclosure could not have been worse”

    Agree.

    “. . . had the city immediately disclosed the acquisition of the MRAP . . . it might have avoided the conflation with Ferguson, Missouri, and spared the city some grief.”

    It would have avoided bad PR timing, but avoided no grief. No one I know who is against this vehicle came to this conclusion because of Ferguson. My first thought was how tone-deaf the police dept. was to how the community would react to this due to our experience with “over-dressed” police on the Quad for the pepper spraying. Our community has learned that over-reacting to a perceived threat with military-style force can cause the very thing you are trying to avoid: a confrontation. Adding military vehicles to a police arsenal in this town, especially hiding the acquisition from citizens and civic leaders until it was already here . . .

  10. Biddlin

    “I think you are out of line with your comments.”
    I think you are incredibly naive if you believe:
    ” The primary purpose of this vehicle is to protect its occupants as they work to defend or protect other people.”
    There aren’t that many armed hostage situations in Davis. Look at the recruitment materials and job requirements. The bosses are looking for enforcers, usually ex-military and jocks who are used to using physical force up to and including mortal force, to control people. If recent local, national and international events haven’t made that abundantly clear, I must question your attentiveness to public affairs.
    From Missouri officer Dan Page’s racist, misogynist, hateful and hopefully career ending rant:
    On domestic violence:“If you don’t like each other that much, just kill each other and get it over with,” he opines. “Problem solved, get it done. Don’t be wasting cops’ time, just shoot each other and get it over with, that’s how I feel about it.”

    On The Supreme Court:”black robed perverts,”

    Another officer in a St. Louis suburb, Michael Pappert:

    “I’m sick of these protesters. You are a burden on society and a blight on the community.

    ..These protesters should have been put down like a rabid dog the first night… Where is a Muslim with a backpack when you need them.”

    These are, sadly, not atypical of the comments one finds on “cop blogs.”

    1. Alan Miller

      I was prepared to pass by this comment without comment, but actually a point is made.

      Whatever we may feel today about the Davis Police, and I for one have have almost exclusively positive experiences and witnessed some of them impressively using tension deescalation techniques–there is no guarantee that a future management team may not be considerably different, or that some future generation will have a higher number of officers more like those in the above comments. As such, there should be a limit to the mechanical power of a civilian police force. I would draw that limit somewhere before MRAPs.

  11. Jim Frame

    I think Phil Coleman nailed it a couple of days ago when he said, in effect, “It’s over — the MRAP is gone.” My 3 reasons for concurrence:

    1. The MRAP isn’t needed. How do I know? Simple: if it were needed, the PD would have incorporated a $700k (plus maintenance and training costs) request in its budget along with a statement to the City Council along the lines of “We can’t properly do our job without this piece of equipment.” And the PD would have been laughed out of Council Chambers had they done so. Availability “for free” via the 1033 program was the only reason PD laid claim to one; it was a purely opportunistic acquisition, not a necessary piece of equipment. If they can do their job adequately without it, then it’s not needed.

    2. The cost. The $6k spent on transporting the MRAP to Davis is chicken feed. Initial deployment (mostly refitting necessary to allow use in a civilian environment), maintenance and training are where the real expenses are. How much? My conservative guesstimates: $50k one-time to refit on the cheap, $20k per year to maintain ($10k parts and consumables, $10 labor), $20k per year to train.

    3. The optics. Public opinion is hard to gauge accurately, but knowing Davis I’d guess 20% in favor and 80% against. Absent a clearly demonstrated need with budgetary support, the project is DOA.

    1. South of Davis

      Jim wrote:

      > My conservative guesstimates: $50k one-time to refit on the cheap, $20k
      > per year to maintain ($10k parts and consumables, $10 labor), $20k per
      > year to train.

      I was wondering what it costs to replace a single tire on that thing and a Google search found the officer.com blog where one guy wrote:

      “It depends on the variant of MRAP but they are all somewhat close. The average cost (to maintain) is around $60k a year, but this is what the DoD is paying contractors overseas in an environment where they are being used heavily.
      The hard part would be finding someone who knew how to do things like change the oil or a tire on one. They aren’t as simple as a crown vic and require special tools, parts and knowledge to keep them going. ”

      Another cop wrote:

      “Vehicles “sitting” in a garage or rarely driven develop all kinds of problems.”

      And yet another cop wrote:

      “The maintenance on the MRAP is measured in the gazillions. ”

      http://forums.officer.com/t189579/

      P.S. I found another site that said a set of four tires is “only” $10K (less than I thought)…

  12. Pingback: Don’t step on a mine | The Gradient

  13. Frankly

    MB, 6′ 4″, 300 lb. 18-year old known for thuggish behavior, and recently observed stealing cigars from a convenience store and punching and threatening the store owner, later, while high on alcohol, marijuana and meth, is confronted by a patrol office in his patrol car. The officer tells MB to stop walking down the middle of the street disrupting the flow of traffic. MB proceeds to punch the officer through the open window, fracturing the officer’s eye socket and causing blooding his lip and nose. MB then attempts to take the officer’s firearm and during the struggle, a shot is fired into the floorboard of the patrol car. MB then returns to walking down the middle of the street. The officer exits the car and tells MB to move to the sidewalk. MB turns and starts taking steps toward the officer. The officer draws his weapon and tells MB to stop and put his hands in the air. MB puts his hands in the air and says “what are you going to do, shoot me.” He then resumes coming toward the officer. The officer again tells MB to stop, but MB keeps coming. The officer shoots MB three times in the arm but MB keeps coming. The officer keeps shooting and makes a final fatal shot and MB goes down.

    That night and for the next week, out of town protestors and thugs converge on the town and loot and riot. Millions of dollars of property is destroyed. The police are ineffective at controlling violence and property damage because they lack tools for the job. Several officers are injured… one seriously from a gunshot wound while advancing on a group of looters.

    The liberals that have controlled the town for decades previously opposed the police department’s attempts to acquire the tools that would have been effective in the situation. The liberals were outraged when they learned that the police department had acquired a blast proof personnel transport vehicle … claiming their town is special and would never need something like it.

    Turns out the police did need it.

    1. Don Shor

      MB, 6′ 4″, 300 lb. 18-year old known for thuggish behavior, and recently observed stealing cigars from a convenience store and punching and threatening the store owner, later, while high on alcohol, marijuana and meth, is confronted by a patrol office in his patrol car. The officer tells MB to stop walking down the middle of the street disrupting the flow of traffic. MB proceeds to punch the officer through the open window, fracturing the officer’s eye socket and causing blooding his lip and nose. MB then attempts to take the officer’s firearm and during the struggle, a shot is fired into the floorboard of the patrol car. MB then returns to walking down the middle of the street. The officer exits the car and tells MB to move to the sidewalk. MB turns and starts taking steps toward the officer. The officer draws his weapon and tells MB to stop and put his hands in the air. MB puts his hands in the air and says “what are you going to do, shoot me.” He then resumes coming toward the officer. The officer again tells MB to stop, but MB keeps coming. The officer shoots MB three times in the arm but MB keeps coming. The officer keeps shooting and makes a final fatal shot and MB goes down.

      Did you know that most of this version of the story you have just told has been discredited? Nearly every “fact” you just put forth is disputed? So what are your sources for this version, Frankly?

    2. jrberg

      This is one of the most stunningly racist comments I have ever seen on the Vanguard.
      [moderator — edited. Feel free to elaborate on your concerns about the comment by Frankly, but please don’t attack any blog participants directly. Thanks. Don]

      1. Frankly

        J berg.
        [moderator — edited as per comment you are responding to. Please all blog participants avoid personal attacks. Thanks. Don]
        That story was hypothetical. And completely feasible.

        Do you want to explain why it justifies the “racist comment?

        1. Don Shor

          That story was hypothetical.


          Your synopsis was too similar to the misinformation that certain news sources have put forth for me to accept your ‘hypothetical’ description.

          1. jrberg

            Thanks, Don. I expected a complete deletion. Frankly, your story was racist because it created the mythical situation where a black guy was out of control, and had to be shot, but the facts on the ground don’t support that at all. You and your fellow travelers need to have this narrative to continue believing that the cops are always right. Cops have a tough job, but there are some that should be relieved of their duties.

          2. Frankly

            J berg – you are the one that used the word black. Seems that you are the racist one. The hypothetical MB could be I f any race, yet you chose to make him black.

      2. tribeUSA

        jrberg–Frankly’s scenario is one interpretation of what happened; and is supported by some of the information that is put out by the media; however as Don as noted and as I think everyone is aware; many of the media reported details of this incident directly contradict each other and/or have not been confirmed; there are other scenarios/narratives, equally as weakly founded, that support an unjustified shooting. Frankly’s narrative is not racist, but biased toward the officers story of the events; just as the mainstream media and politicos narrative of the events has been biased in favor of the 18-year old who was shot.

        1. Frankly

          Thanks tribeUSA. Well-said and accurate. There are two basic stories… one supports the police and one supports the police racism accusation.

          Apparently the Grand Jury is gathering all testimony and evidence.

          If this policeman killed this kid out of anger or racial hatred, he should be tried and punished to the full extent of the law.

          If his actions were justified, then those that rushed to judgment to claim his actions were racist, should be crucified in the court of public opinion and hopefully have to atone for their horrendously destructive misdeeds at some future point of their existence in this life or the next.

    3. Mark West

      Frankly: By the reports that I have seen (admittedly, I have not read everything), the cop in question in your “hypothetical,” did not know that the suspect was involved in a previous crime. He also did not know if (or that) the suspect was under the influence of drugs or alcohol. In fact, all your cop ‘knew’ was that a 300#, 6’4″ black man was walking down the middle of the street.

      Earlier today when I was driving home from the store, a middle aged 160# white male in a wheel chair was riding down the center line of the street in front of me. Much like the cop in your hypothetical, I had to slow down, and perhaps even stop, before the street was clear to safely move on. In your “hypothetical,” do you believe that your cop would have been justified in confronting this individual (even eventually fatally shooting him), or would you think the smarter thing to do was to just be patient until he moved aside (as I did)? What you don’t seem to appreciate, probably due to the numbing effect on your brain caused by watching Fox news, is that this entire confrontation was brought about by an impatient cop (and here I am being generous since the lack of patience was probably not the controlling factor) confronting someone over jaywalking.

      Since when has jaywalking become a crime punishable by death (as opposed to being the cause of someone being run over by accident)?

      1. Frankly

        Mark – The account was that MB and his friend were walking down the middle of the street.

        But I feel I need to explain my post above. It was provocative on purpose. And it pulled out old jberg as reliably as flies to horse manure. Racism certainly exists, and jberg demonstrated some of it. In fact, I think what jberg demonstrated is the more common type of racism we see today: a rush to judgment clouded by a racial-polarized worldview that is rooted in hyper-sensitivity and severely over-amplified victim-fairness filters.

        We could have taken that entire story and made “MB” Mark Billy-bob, the son of a white Baptist minister, and old jberg would have been on the other side of commentary that the thug probably got what he deserved.

        The other point here is to protect our police. The outrage over this truck/tool is 100% symbolic if not monetary. If our Davis PD finds itself in a situation that would justify the use of this truck/tool, yet we don’t have it because the hypersensitive previously win and force the PD to somehow get rid of it, and because of this any of our police personnel are harmed… well let’s just say that I see a need for judgment at gates of heaven and hell for those responsible for pushing the city to get rid of it.

        I guess I am unique in that I feel the need to protect police more than I do thugs and lawbreakers that threaten the safety and property of those the police are charged to protect and serve.

        My final comment is that the outrage over this truck/tool is cheap and disrespectful grandstanding to prove certification in the liberal Davis tribe. Police departments all across the nation have tools like this. I understand the need for Davis liberals to stand out as different than everyone else, but they should pick other symbolist causes other than those that end up causing unnecessary danger to our police personnel.

      2. Barack Palin

        Mark, I heard that when the cop first stopped MB it was for walking down the middle of the street, but shortly thereafter he received a bulletin that said a store had just been robbed of a box of cigars at which time he noticed MB carrying a box of cigars.

  14. London

    “Thuggish behavior” justifies 6 bullets, the sixth one probably the one that killed the teenager? After five bullets, the teenager still wasn’t punished enough?

    There may be one or two privledged teenagers in Davis who shoplifted items in Davis. Do those teenagers deserve to be riddled with bullets, too?

    1. Barack Palin

      Funny how you left out that he accosted and beat a police officer while going for his gun and the police officer felt his life was threatened, so it comes down to more than just shoplifting.

    2. Clem Kadiddlehopper

      London wrote: “Thuggish behavior” justifies 6 bullets, the sixth one probably the one that killed the teenager? After five bullets, the teenager still wasn’t punished enough?

      A policeman shoots to stop a threat
      To stop you must incapacitate
      To incapacitate you must disrupt the central nervous system
      To disrupt the central nervous system you must destroy the brain stem or create massive blood loss
      The more accurate our shooting (effective), the faster we are able to stop the threat(efficient). I’m glad this officer won his fight, and did so by dominating the bad guy with mindset, tactics and marksmanship.

  15. London

    Eyewitnesses stated to CNN that the officer was inside his car and obviously he was armed. The teenager was outside the police cruiser, on a public street, unarmed.
    If I was safely inside my car and afraid of a teenager on a public street, I’d probably roll up my window and drive a safe distance away from him. I wouldn’t take out a gun and riddle him with 6 bullets. The first five probably downed him and rendered him quite defenseless. The very last bullet, the 6th one, may have been the bullet that struck the teenager in his brain.
    Perhaps the officer was sleep deprived and or suffering from serious emotional trauma. Perhaps the officer in the Davis pepper spray incident was also stressed out to the max. Perhaps both incidents were entirely preventable.

  16. Tia Will

    “Funny how you left out that he accosted and beat a police officer while going for his gun and the police officer felt his life was threatened’

    This represents the police officer’s side of events. unfortunately, as in all of these incidents, the teen is not alive to tell his side.
    The “facts” of what actually happened seem very fluid at this point in time. Orbital fracture/ no orbital fracture…..
    It is interesting that some are willing to adopt on face value the version that best suits their world view.

    1. tribeUSA

      Tia–yes I agree with your comment; both supporters of the police officer and supporters of the teen who was shot are guilty of being selective with their narrative; the press has been sloppy (as per usual) with their reporting of ‘facts’ that have later been shown to be incorrect or uncertain, etc. Thank goodness for our evidence-based justice system; hearsay and rumors have no place in the courtroom–just statements and answers from witnesses, and hard evidence from ballistics, coroner, EM physicians and assistants (for the cop), fingerprints, videos, cellphone and police dispatch archives, etc.

      Meanwhile I don’t see the harm in some speculation or weaving a scenario; but it should be noted clearly that the narrative one currently supports is just an opinion based on personal judgement, not an ironclad fact!

      1. London

        TUSA
        Good morning,
        I hope you are safe and the quake wasn’t too bad in Davis. Re: your remark :

        “Thank goodness for our evidence-based justice system; hearsay and rumors have no place in the courtroom–just statements and answers from witnesses, and hard evidence from ballistics, coroner, EM physicians and assistants (for the cop), fingerprints, videos, cellphone and police dispatch archives, etc.”

        I think there is still room for error in our evidence-based justice system. Otherwise, Damien Echols would not have sat on death row for a crime he did not commit.

  17. Tia Will

    I think that there is a specific point that has not been brought up about the MRAP.
    On another thread, a poster pointed out that this is a defensive, not an offensive piece of equipment. This is true as the MRAP sits parked in its resting place.
    Once it is manned by officers who themselves are heavily armed, it has become in effect, an offensive military style weapons delivery system. This is ithe grain of truth hidden in the frequently quoted “guns don’t kill people, people kill people”.
    No one is saying that the MRAP itself will kill anyone. But I would most certainly feel intimidated by the presence of a military designed device carrying heavily armed individuals through our community with Kent State and the UCD pepper spraying incidents as my direct references of what can go wrong even when when the individual is doing nothing except sitting down in the USC case, or walking across campus in the Kent State case.

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