By William R. Toler
Jacksonville city council members unanimously voted to approve the police department’s purchase of a Lenco Bearcat.
According to some attendees of Tuesday night’s meeting, the decision had already been made at a prior planning workshop.
Members of the Eastern Carolina Republican Liberty Caucus went to the meeting to express concern. However, it was apparent council members could not be swayed.
One member posted-
From the copy of the agenda, made available to the public in the lobby:
Purchasing the Bearcat: Pros: (1) Increase in public safety operations; (2) Increase in officer safety; (3) Improved tactical operation response
Not Purchasing the Bearcat: Pros: None
Cons: (1) Officer life, health and safety concerns; (2) Escalating costs to keep vehicle in service
It seems the council would not have taken any worries from the public seriously, judging by the propaganda. But members of the ECRLC say that the council members maintained civility during and after the meeting, even though they disagreed. Several members added, the mayor seemed condescending to their concerns.
The police department’s only real justification for the Bearcat, is to replace it’s 33-year-old Dodge Peacekeeper. (How’s that for the name of a tactical truck?)
Instead of just getting a new armored truck, the department is getting a bullet-proof assault vehicle.
When I told my dad about it, he’s first reaction was, “Why? Things aren’t that bad are they?”
Why? That’s the question local media outlets, politicans and residents should’ve been asking.
However, it’s likely that even if there had been massive oppostion, the council would have rubber-stamped the purchase anyway, just like the New Hampshire cities of Concord and Keene.
The Jacksonville Daily News reports that the Bearcat should be delivered in 240 days.
WNCT reported last month that the city of Greenville is interested in its own tank.
The Independent Register will keep you informed on the militarization of the police in eastern North Carolina and across the country.
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