A Difference of Opinion

Our Department is in the news, again.  Here is a link to a Mercury News story on our Chief’s decision to return the recently acquired Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicle (MRAP).  The story’s first sentence pretty much sums up the event.  “Amid a national furor over police militarization, the San Jose Police Department has decided to get rid of a 15-ton armored vehicle it received earlier this year from a federal military surplus program.”

The story went on to say, “In San Jose, the MRAP, designed to withstand improvised explosive devices used against U.S. forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, has been in an undisclosed storage garage in the city.  It was being outfitted for street use when police brass -- already facing criticism for their recent purchase of a drone -- decided it wasn't worth the potential damage to the department's image and community relationships.”

Our Department spokeswoman, Sgt. Heather Randol, very succinctly explained our Department’s need for the vehicle.  "It was acquired to provide protection to our bomb unit members.  We are the regional bomb facility.  We are a resource in the county and statewide."

The Chief sent out an email explaining his decision to return the vehicle.  Click on the attchment below to read Chief Esquivel's full email. Here are a few sentences from it:

“After obtaining the MRAP, physically inspecting it, gaining input from various stakeholders, understanding the community perceptions of such a vehicle, evaluating the infrequency of potential use of such a vehicle, the option that other law enforcement agencies have obtained like vehicles and the fact that the SJPD could potentially utilize similar equipment from other law enforcement agencies, we have reconsidered our position on actually having an MRAP.  We will be decommissioning the MRAP from our fleet and will be returning it to the Defense Logistical Agency.”

Interestingly, Redwood City also obtained a similar vehicle.  Their Mayor, Jeff Gee, was questioned by a citizen about the militarization issue and the Mayor defended his City’s possession of such equipment.  Click on the attchment below to read Mayor Gee's full email. Here are a few sentences from it:

“We live in an increasingly more complex world than ever before.  The Active Shooter exercise at Roosevelt  School this past summer, was a stark reminder about the potential realities we face everywhere.   This exercise was to prepare our public safety organizations to respond in the event of a shooter on one of our school campuses – an all too real situation given the events seen across our country.”

“I hope and pray that we never have to see this vehicle deployed.  However, if the violence of the world reaches Redwood City, I want our public safety organizations to have the tools that they feel they need to protect lives.”

Is it any wonder why our Department has lost so many of its officers to Redwood City?  We applaud Mayor Gee’s strong support of his public safety personnel.

Click here to watch a modern day gunfight with police.

Chief Esquivel Email182.61 KB
Mayor Gee Response99.06 KB