Thursday, July 5, 2012
According to an Albany City Council member, the Albany Police Department has decided to back out of an agreement with Berkeley Police Department and UCPD to purchase an armored vehicle through a federal grant.
The $170,000 federal grant to purchase a Lenco BearCat will come from the Urban Areas Security Initiative, a Department of Homeland Security nonprofit organization that is intended to financially support agencies that are at high risk of a terrorist attack with “security enhancements.”
The BearCat is used by many military and law enforcement agencies. According to former Berkeley Police Department spokesperson Sgt. Mary Kusmiss, the Albany, Berkeley and UC Berkeley departments only intend to use the vehicle for “active shooters, barricaded subjects and rescuing individuals.”
But many city and campus community members have raised concerns over the vehicle being used in protest situations, citing the armored vehicle previously used by Oakland police to break up the May 1 Occupy Oakland protest.
According to Albany City Councilmember Robert Lieber, Albany police backed out of the agreement because they deemed the vehicle “inappropriate for the uses for their police department in a civilian setting.”