Why Wouldn't a Small-City Police Department Need an Armored Vehicle?
Concord, California, is a Bay-Area city of about 120,000 people which serves, at least in part, as a bedroom community for San Francisco. It has a good climate, a fine location, but something … something has been missing until recently. Now, though, the Concord Police Department SWAT team has its very own own armored vehicle.
Concord Police's SWAT team will make a public debut Saturday, of "Mamba," an armored vehicle awarded to the department from a U.S. Department of Defense surplus donation program.
Mamba is a bullet-proof, 11-seater "bath tub" that will provide the Special Weapons and Tactics team with a new level of protection previously unavailable as a resource in high-risk calls and operations, said Lt. David Hughes, of the Concord Police Department.
"Armored personnel vehicles provide essential physical protection and mobility for officers when they need to contain or confront armed and violent suspects," said Hughes. "The fundamental purpose of any armored vehicle is to save lives and prevent injury. This includes the lives of hostages, innocent civilians, the officers themselves, and also the life of the suspect."
It's a little difficult to figure out just what in Hell Concord is going to do with the thing, but if somebody offers you a tank (or tank-ish vehicle, if you will) you take the damned tank.
And, under the 1033 program, the Defense Department is giving away lots of military goodies to law-enforcement agencies around the country. Missouri says it has received "aircraft (both fixed wing and rotary)," and Texas lists as available to local police departments, M-16 rifles, M-14 rifles, Model 1911 .45 pistols, aircraft and armored response vehicles. Four years ago, Radley Balko wrote for Reason that "the sheriff and SWAT team of Richland County, South Carolina, posed for a photo with an impressive new piece of equipment: an M113A1 armored personnel carrier." With that kind of escalation, can Concord cops afford to not have a tank.
It's OK. They'll find something to do with it. Something, perhaps, like this from the Courthouse News Service:
PHOENIX (CN)—A chicken farmer claims actor Steven Seagal and dozens of Sheriff Joe Arpaio's officers blasted through his gated driveway with a tank to arrest him on camera for Seagal's TV show, "Steven Seagal: Lawman," though he had been cleared of cockfighting allegations a month before by the Phoenix Police Department.
Washed-up action stars can't be expected to kick in doors by themselves, you know, That's what surplus military equipment is for.