CC Democratic Club Opposes Rescue Vehicle Purchase
Bearcat Called a "Military Transport"
February 13, 2020
The City Council has already approved the purchase when it adopted the 2019-20 city budget last August. But the council later put the brakes on the purchase citing the need for more community input.
In its resolution, the Democratic Club accused the city "of misrepresented this military transport as an 'emergency rescue vehicle.'" It also mentioned that unnamed "peer-reviewed research has shown that militarizing police equipment, attitudes, and policies harms community relations" and that the Bearcat cost of $400,000 would consume too much of the police department's budget.
In an apparent dig at the Culver City Police Department, the club stated that "perceived and practiced police bias continue to damage the image of the City."
The Democratic Club resolution accused the police of having "increasingly requested military and surveillance gear (including drones, automated license plate readers, and the BEARCAT armored car)," and adopting a "warrior policing model embodied by this vehicle which contradicts the community policing one espoused by the City Council and supported by most independent social science research."
The public is invited to join the City Council Public Safety Subcommittee to discuss and view a Proposed Emergency Rescue Vehicle next Wednesday, February 19, at 7 p.m. in the Mike Balkman Council Chambers at City Hall, 9770 Culver Boulevard.
The meeting will include an opportunity to inspect the proposed vehicle and a Q & A session with Mayor Meghan Sahli-Wells and Vice Mayor Göran Eriksson. If you can't attend, you can do so virtually on the stream online on February 19. Go to the following link: https://culver-city.legistar.com/DepartmentDetail.aspx?ID=35363&GUID=E167B804-B788-47AB-8E07-4A4F54555943
When the City Council initially put the brakes on the purchase of the Bearcat, the Culver City Police Officers Association's Board of Directors issued the following statement, "We feel compelled to speak up regarding this critical piece of public safety equipment. We would like to share with you the POA's perspective and views on why the department must acquire a Rescue Vehicle...
"From El Paso, TX to Dayton, Ohio to Gilroy, CA, there are way too many active shooters/mass shootings taking place across this nation; far too many to count. It is an epidemic. Recently, a Sacramento police officer was shot while investigating a domestic violence incident in the city. Due to the suspect's firepower, Officer Tara O'Sullivan could not be rescued for over 40 minutes. She met a lonely, cold and painful death. We can't help but wonder what would've been the outcome if a rescue vehicle could've gotten to her sooner and transported her to a hospital."
The statement also said: "We've also been disturbed to hear comments from people that say that critical incidents don't happen in Culver City and that this is "Mayberry." Its comments like these that are just preposterous, ridiculous and quite frankly, they're insulting. Not several months ago, our officers responded to a welfare check at one of the local motels and were immediately greeted by a barrage of gunfire...
"If Culver City is truly "Mayberry," then maybe our line officers should stop wearing their bulletproof vests. I mean, why wear that clunky, heavy piece of equipment if nothing really happens here."
The association ended its letter by saying, "We know that the City Council cares about this city and its Police Officers; those that have taken an oath to swear and protect them. All we are asking is for a piece of equipment, a Rescue Vehicle, that will protect us as we run into harm's way."
The city is also looking for community input through an online poll. To participate in the survey, go to: https://www.culvercity.org/how-do-i/get-involved/bearcat-emergency-rescue-vehicle