Santa Paula Acquires Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) Vehicle

By Sheryl Hamlin

An item intended for the Consent Calendar of October 19, 2015 of the Santa Paula City Council meeting was pulled due to citizen concerns. This item, number 9C, was the acceptance of a donated MRAP vehicle by the Santa Paula Police Department. To read the police report of the justification, click here.

The following is a picture of an MRAP vehicle now domiciled in South Lake Tahoe, which according to the SPPD, is identical to the one they are being gifted by the federal government.

sp_MRAP

The SPPD applied to the federal government for the vehicle as follows:

1033_program

The discussion surrounded costs, training and policy of use. The SPPD Commander Ish Cordero, who presented the item for the SPPD, said that it will be used for rescue and SWAT, such a floods, so will have limited use. Council Member Crosswhite asked about written policies on the use of the vehicles. Commander Cordero said it will be used in “high risk” situations, but did not say there was a written policy. High risk, he said, included search warrants, armed suspects and gang SWAT raids.

Council Member Crosswhite asked about maintenance and if the vehicle were street ready. Commander Cordero said the vehicle would be analyzed by the lead city mechanic to make such determination; however, it was not said that such determination would be made in advance of the acceptance. No dollar figure was given about the cost of maintenance. He also said that the vehicle would not be driven at high speeds.

Council Member Crosswhite said that there needs to be a policy such that Main Street does not look like a war zone, as this article describes. No policy was given because Council Member Gherardi interrupted this exchange saying that a similar vehicle had been in use for years.

Council Member Crosswhite asked if a special license is required. The answer was that a commercial license was required. No statement was given about how many officers would be given or required to take such training.

Mr. Fontes said that the MRAP would also be used for active shooter incidents, pulling trees and retrieving bodies out of a river.

Vice Mayor Hernandez said that it is better to have it and not use it than need it and not have it.

The item was approved.

This is part two of a four part series of the October 19, 2015 Santa Paula City Council. The next two articles will be SOAR and the Fire Department Budget.

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For more information about the author, visit sheryhamlin.com

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