San Leandro residents sounded off Thursday night about the potential purchase of an armored transport known as a BearCat, objecting to what they say is the militarization of local law enforcement
More than 100 people came out to the San Leandro Senior Center to get a look at the vehicle, called a MedEvac, which is advertised as "an armored Response & Rescue SWAT truck" and which police say will be used primarily for rescue operations throughout the region. Protesters chanted "No Thanks, No Tanks," while police officials showed off two stretchers from the vehicle.
San Leandro police Lt. Randy Brandt called the MedEvac a "regional asset" and said it is unique in the region. He added that San Leandro used a similar vehicle for nine operations in 2013 and 2014, but had to borrow it from nearby law enforcement agencies.
Fremont police Capt. Kimberly Peterson said her agency would also benefit from the purchase of the vehicle, which would be used throughout the region.
"EMS doesn’t go into those hot zones. They don’t go into the danger area until its cleared, and that could be hour, " said Peterson, a former SWAT team member. “So if you want the ability to get people in there safely, meaning your first responders, whether it's police, fire, EMS or all three at once, then you need something like this."