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San Diego SD Unified Police gets armored vehicle

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San Diego SD Unified Police gets armored vehicle

This is ridiculous. Why on earth does the San Diego Unified School District need an armored vehicle? The article points to a rescue effort. Obviously, there is a security aspect to it as well that someone can conjure up a situation when it is used.

My issue is who will be using this military vehicle. The SD unified police is a small force. They work a lot at schools in the dare program. I may be wrong….but I doubt there is a swat team.

When there is a major security or rescue issue I want to leave it to professionals. Fireman….swat units that have specific regular training in high issue affairs. I do not want the guys who patrols the school and makes sure a fight doesn’t break out at a HS football game.

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Are they saying SD unified police will now have a full time response unit? If not….then a high powered military vehicle going into chiildrens schools will be handled by someone who puts in X amount of hours per year on training.

As a prosecutor we were highly critical of police reports from school police, whether it be SDSU police, community college police, etc. It is just about training. The reports did not pass the muster of CHP for example, who are adept at San Diego DUI reports (and they can still have ample amount of errors).

I just wonder why the school district would take on this liability. This obviously will be stored at the SD unified motor yard. By the time someone gets there and fires the vehicle up I would say if there was a major issue the San Diego police or fire would be there. Militarization of police is an issue today in our country. The school district police gearing up is just unreasonable.

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City schools police have obtained their own military-grade Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected vehicle through a federal grant.

Known as an MRAP, the armored mobile will be converted into a victim rescue vehicle that will be stocked with thousands of dollars in advanced medical supplies and be able to take heavy fire in case of an attack on campus, the San Diego Unified School District Police Department said Tuesday.

The MRAP, valued at more than $700,000, was acquired at no cost to the district. The vehicle is expected to be operational in October.

“We recognize the public concern over perceived ‘militarization of law enforcement,’ but nothing could be further from the truth for School Police,” Capt. Joe Florentino said in an email.

Much of that public concern erupted last month in the wake of unrest in Ferguson, Mo., where heavily militarized police squads reacted to crowds protesting the police shooting of an unarmed black teenager. The White House is reviewing whether programs that equip local law police departments with military gear are appropriate and will study how the equipment is being used.

Florentino describes the district’s MRAP as the county’s only specifically designated victim rescue vehicle. It will be clearly marked “rescue,” as well as display large red cross on all sides, similar to an ambulance. It is able to climb up rapid floodwaters, pull down walls or ram through buildings to rescue trapped victims, Florentino said.

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Schools police will train with firefighters and paramedics on how to insert medical teams into high-risk zones. Such techniques were born out of the 1999 Columbine school massacre, the captain said. Officers had to wait outside for tactical teams while the shooters continued to kill students and teachers inside the Colorado school, he said.

“We can actually fit an entire classroom of elementary students inside our Rescue Vehicle; that’s 30-40 students evacuated with armor protection during every trip into a danger zone,” he noted.

The MRAP will also be made available to other law enforcement agencies in emergencies.

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The full article can be found here.

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Here is another article on the militarization of police.

The wounds of last month’s shooting death of Michael Brown in a St. Louis suburb were reopened Tuesday, first in a national forum and then a local one.

The militarization of local law enforcement agencies, fueled in large part by federal equipment and funds, received a congressional trial at midday, the first such hearing since a national outcry over how police in Ferguson, Mo., responded to protests over the fatal shooting of the unarmed black teenager.

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On Tuesday night, the Ferguson City Council held a meeting in which it introduced a handful of planned changes whose purpose council member Mark Byrne described in a statement beforehand as being to “improve trust within the community.”

But those in attendance were clearly frustrated. More than three dozen people – several identifying themselves as “Mike Brown” – got up to voice their frustration and anger over their contention that the city government has supported racist policies. The council members were warned by several commenters that they were on notice and could expect to lose their positions.

“We’re not going to let you go back to business as usual,” one woman said.

Several noted the council’s relative lack of diversity. One of its six members is black, they noted, while two-thirds of the city population is African American.

The council, meeting for the first time since the shooting, introduced a slate of reforms to address other community con-cerns raised by the killing of the black teenager and its aftermath. The changes the council said it would approve include a citizen review board to oversee police, a reduction in fines and fees as a source of municipal revenue, and changes in court procedures to make them more fair to residents who live in poverty.

Earlier in Washington, senators criticized what they described as a lack of coordination, training and oversight by three federal programs, administered by the departments of Defense, Homeland Security and Justice, that transfer federal funds and equipment to local law enforcement agencies. The lawmakers argued that over recent decades the programs have contributed to increasingly militarized police forces.

“This is crazy out-of-control,” said Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.).

Tuesday’s hearing was a response to local police actions taken during the protests, riots and looting in Ferguson after the Aug. 9 fatal shooting of Brown, 18, by a white police officer. Police monitored the protests from atop armored vehicles with weapons aimed at crowds and

responded to riots with tear gas while dressed in camouflage and toting shotguns, M-4 rifles and gas masks. The media images flowing from Ferguson provoked national outrage, with President Obama ordering a review of the programs that provide aid to local law enforcement agencies.

From the start of Tuesday’s congressional hearing before the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, senators slammed the programs, suggesting they have undermined core constitutional principles.

“While this hearing may reveal many strong arguments why some of this equipment may be helpful for the safety of police officers in certain situations, I am confident that militarizing police tactics are not consistent with the peaceful exercise of First Amendment rights of free speech and free assembly,” said Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), whose home state was the site of Brown’s shooting and the subsequent riots and protests.

Early in the hearing, McCaskill described what she saw as a lack of oversight of the programs, in particular the Defense Department’s1033 program, which has transferred more than $5.1 billion in equipment to local agencies since 1991.

She singled out the 624 MineResistant Armor-Protected vehicles, such as those employed in the war on terrorism, that have been distributed to local law enforcement agencies since 2011 “seemingly without regard to need or size of the agency that has received them,” she said. At least 13 local law enforcement agencies with fewer than 10 sworn, fulltime officers have received an MRAP. For example, the police department in Preston, Idaho, has an MRAP despite having only six full-time, sworn officers, an official confirmed to The Washington Post.

In all but one state – Idaho – local law enforcement agencies have received more such vehicles than are in the hands of the National Guard in those locations, according to federal data analyzed and provided by McCaskill’s office. Such equipment transfers come without training, a Defense Department official told McCaskill.

The Ferguson Police Department has received only a small amount through the 1033 program in recent years, including nontactical items such as field packs, first-aid kits, wool blankets and medical supplies.

McCaskill vowed to hold more hearings and develop legislation.

On Monday night, the city of Ferguson announced that a group of residents who are not currently part of local government will review the practices of Ferguson’s police department.

The citizen review board will work with city officials and local law enforcement “in advising and reviewing operations and actions of the police department,” according to a news release distributed Monday by a public relations firm representing the city.

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