The Davis City Council voted Tuesday night to direct staff members to return within 60 days with options for the military surplus armored rescue vehicle the Police Department recently added to its fleet and to review guidelines for acquisition of such items.
A motion by Councilman Robb Davis also called for the council to meet with the Police Department to try to determine what type of protective vehicle is needed, and to hold a community forum to discuss public safety issues related to active-shooter type incidents.
The vote initially was reported as 4-1 in favor of the motion, with Councilman Brett Lee dissenting, but it later was clarified as a 3-1-1 vote after Councilwoman Rochelle Swanson indicated that she had abstained. Lee argued that council members should take more time to gather information, saying quick decisions have gotten them into difficulties in the past.
Davis police say the armored rescue vehicle is intended not for offensive use, but rather to protect occupants from gunfire and hazards.
But among approximately two dozen people who spoke on the matter Tuesday night, only three voiced support for keeping the military surplus vehicle. Although several said they recognized some type of armored vehicle was needed, they said it should be one designed for civilian, not military use.
Police Chief Landy Black estimated that such a vehicle would cost the city $400,000 to $500,000. The military vehicle, known by its acronym MRAP – mine-resistant, ambush-protected – is valued at $689,000, but the Davis Police Department received it for free through a federal program administered in California by the Office of Emergency Services.