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The Berkeley Wire: 06.25.12

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  • The Sharkey

    Why on earth does BPD think they need an armored car?

    I can’t think of a single event in the last decade where a vehicle like that would be appropriate here in Berkeley.

    I know they’re getting a lot of “free money” from the Feds for this, but it just seems absurd.

  • Berkeleyfarm

    So right.  We can’t have a K9 squad, but we can have this?  Boon to the doggle.

  • The Sharkey

    Well, we can’t have a K9 squad because of the Police Review Commission and citizen troll groups like Copwatch, not because we can’t afford it.

  • batard

    Actually the history runs deeper than that .. dogs & helicopters.  But you’re right, the lack of K9 units isn’t about funding. 

    Careful about knocking police oversight entirely, a lot of what’s good about BPD is a function of having those institutions in place.  True, like a lot of Berkeley politics, you have to suffer the extreme points of view in order to have the argument centered in the right place.  

  • batard

    Totally agree.

    Look closer at the specs on these, they are much more than just an armored car.  There are portals and and a roof hatch/turret that facilitate shooting, and teargas nozzles on the sides.  These things lend themselves to all sorts of crowd control and offensive scenarios.  

  • Berkeleyfarm

    I’m actually far more concerned about UCPD having their hands on this.  As noted above, BPD is being fairly carefully scrutinized.   I’d call UCPD pigs, but that would be an insult to an intelligent (and tasty) animal. 

  • Berkeleyfarm

    A tear-gas spouting tank seems pretty damn extreme to me. 

  • The Sharkey

    Oh, don’t get me wrong, I think some Police oversight is crucial. But, like so many things here in Berkeley, we take it way too far.

  • batard

    Absolutely .. but the way I explain it to my out-of-town friends is that if you pick the center point of your bell curve, then you have to suffer 1 and 2 standard deviations out.  And so it goes with our politics.

    I do tire of the inclusive-to-a-fault nature of our process though, there are too many idiots out there that just need to stfu.

  • bgal4

    CopWatch is an activist organization with an agenda, they are provocateurs. 

    http://samuelwalker.net/2012/05/univ-california-report-embraces-auditor-model/

  • batard

    I remember copwatch during the height of the 80’s crack epidemic.  We lived around 7th & Bancroft and it was a disaster.  While we were struggling to get ENOUGH police attention,  meanwhile these jerks were out there giving the cops a hard time, just making things worse.   Copwatch was pretty much all young white kids, and the crack dealers were all young black men of course.  

  • Berkeleyfarm

    Oh, when you put it that way, I totally understand.  Unfortunately I think this damn tank is at least 2 sigmas the other (and wrong) way.   I don’t trust UCPD, and I think Meehan has seriously bad impulse control and shouldn’t have his paws on it either. 

    One of the other reasons I said “boon to the doggle” was that I worked for the county and did some support for the Sherriff’s Department during a time when they were getting their hands on a lot of post-911 Department Now Known As Homeland Security money.  As far as I could tell, they basically pissed it away.  Good for the companies doing the selling but not good for anyone else.