DAVIS (CBS13) — It was an issue that was late on the agenda Tuesday night at Davis City Hall, which received unanimous approval.
The city of Davis Police Department got the approval they were looking for, receiving funding and authorization to purchase an armored police rescue vehicle.
“It doesn’t look like a military vehicle basically a van that’s outfitted with armor, it still can get the job done for what we need it for. It’s much more nimble much more subtle,” said Davis Deputy Police Chief Paul Doroshov.
The vehicle is an armor-plated Ford Transit van which looks more like a package delivery van than a police vehicle.
“It’s essentially an armored vehicle. It’s a tool that we need and most modern police departments have.” said deputy Chief Doroshov.
The issue has been in front of the council before and divided the community. Five years ago in 3-2 vote, the Davis City council voted to return a Mine Resistant Ambush Protected Vehicle (MRAP) which was donated to Davis as part of federal military surplus. The MRAP looked like a tank-style vehicle.
Since then, the ambush killings of Davis Police Officer Natalie Corona and Sacramento police officer Tara O’Sullivan have made the $138,000 cost of the van a worthwhile expenditure, according to city officials.
“I think what happened with Officer Corona really woke people up and said ‘Wow something like this can happen in our community, I guess other things can happen,'” said Davis Mayor Brett Lee.
The recent deaths of local police officers have been enough to change the mind of council member Lucas Frerichs who apposed the MRAP in 2014.
“It’s something I think would be a wise thing for the city of Davis to have, ” said Frerichs, who said it is an insurance policy and allows the City of Davis to rely on themselves and not other cities.
Although the new vehicle looks much different from the MRAP five years ago, that detail made no difference to Bill Thomas, a lifelong resident of Davis.
“It looks nice but it’s the same thing, isn’t it? We need an armored troop carrier in this town? Come on, I don’t think so,”‘ said Thomas.
Davis Deputy Police Chief Paul Doroshov says the department has listened to the concerns of citizens from five years ago and after much consultation, they have reached a middle ground.
“We’re introducing something that would fit into our philosophy of being non-militaristic but still offer that protection we need for certain instances,” said Doroshov.
The Davis City Council unanimously approved the acquisition late Tuesday night.