San Leandro Approves Purchase of Armored Rescue Vehicle

Council members in San Leandro on Monday voted in favor of allowing the city to use a grant to purchase a controversial armored rescue vehicle.

The Medevac Armored vehicle is the only one of its kind in Northern California.

Residents packed a meeting Monday night to voice opposition against the armored rescue vehicle. But reaction in the room was mixed, with council members ultimately giving the go ahead for this controversial piece of equipment.

A group of people rallied outside City Hall to oppose the armored vehicle, with the theme of ambulances don't have guns.

"This is such a big step in the wrong direction (and) relations in the community," said Mia Ousley, who opposes the city purchasing armored rescue vehicle. "This is a tank."

Mike Katz-Lacabe, who also opposes the armored rescue vehicle, said "this ambulance comes with 11 gun ports -- that's not an ambulance."

City officials said the armored vehicle would be partially funded with a grant from the Department of Homeland Security, totaling $200,000. The rest of the funds would come from asset forfeiture funds -- money that can only be used to help police fight crime.

"What this armored vehicle allows us to do is transport medical personnel in it , have them protected, have law enforcement extract them, get them into that immediate care much quicker," said Robert McManus of the San Leandro Police Department.

Five council members voted in favor of the armored vehicle, with one voting against it saying she was not sure police would use it correctly.

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