Send Back The Bearcat: Santa Cruz Rally and Action

By Sherry Conable

Join the NEXT Rally and Action!

Tuesday, February 10th, 2015
4 PM - City Hall, 809 Center Street, Santa Cruz, CA

Scotts Valley Police Department armored vehicle responds to the shooting of two Santa Cruz police officers, February 26th, 2013 - photo by Dan Coyro, SC Sentinel
Scotts Valley Police Department armored vehicle responds to the shooting of two Santa Cruz police officers,
February 26th, 2013 - photo by Dan Coyro, SC Sentinel

UPDATE

Please see report below of progress and discoveries to date.

SEND BACK THE BEARCAT ARMORED MILITARY VEHICLE

(Ballistic Engineered Armored Response Counter Attack Truck)

Come speak to the Council or hold signs of support. We have lots, or make your own. Chalk Art opportunities also available. Draw a BearCat and then wash it away.

Let the Santa Cruz City Council know how you feel.
SAY NO TO THE MILITARIZATION OF OUR LOCAL POLICE!

Sponsored by SCRAM!
( Santa Cruz Resistance Against Militarization!)

SCRAM! is an ad hoc organizing group with three goals:

  1. to bring the BearCat back onto the SC City Council agenda for a full public hearing and to rescind the approval
  2. to establish a long term policy for grant applications and acceptance in the City that ensures timeliness, transparency, full public disclosure and input
  3. to help develop and implement policies that prevent military equipment from flowing into law enforcement agencies throughout Santa Cruz County

We will persevere, and we shall overcome.

The goals of SCRAM! are cosponsored by the following Santa Cruz groups (a growing list):
CodePink, People United for Peace, Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, Santa Cruz Quaker Meeting, Resource Center for Nonviolence, Food not Bombs, Veterans for Peace, Sin Barras, SC County Community Coalition to Overcome Racism, Jewish Voice for Peace, the People's Democratic Club, Peace and Freedom Party, Homeless Persons Legal Assistance Project, Women in Black SC, MediaWatch/Youth Radio Project, Palestine-Israel Action Committee, the ISLAH Reparation Project, the Romero Institute, Thrive Santa Cruz.........

REPORT

On December 9th, 2014 the Santa Cruz City Council, at very short notice, approved the purchase of a Lenco BearCat, a fully armored vehicle, for the Police Department.

On January 13th, about 300 citizens attended their next meeting to request that the Council rescind their rushed approval, and on January 27th, over 100 citizens came again to do the same!!

It is important to know that the Santa Cruz Police relied on questionable information about their need for an armored vehicle when they pushed the Council to approve this purchase in December. They claimed it would take 3-4 hours for the nearest armored vehicle to arrive in Santa Cruz from Santa Clara if needed. In fact, both our own Sheriff's Department and the Scotts Valley Police Department have armored vehicles that can be quickly deployed! The Scotts Valley armored vehicle actually responded to the shooting of 2 Santa Cruz police officers in February of 2013 within 30 minutes - see photo above.

The police also kept news of their successful application to Homeland Security for this military style vehicle from the City Council and the Public for over 7 months! Because of this, the Council voted before they, or the Public, had time to review all the necessary information to justify approving a quarter million dollar purchase.

Although the vehicle was described as a "rescue vehicle" at the City Council meeting in December, the application submitted to Homeland Security to secure the grant describes it repeatedly as an anti-terrorism tool and as a support vehicle for the SC SWAT Team. The manufacturer itself, LENCO, describes and promotes it as a SWAT vehicle and, according to an ACLU study, that is how it is used in most of the other communities that have one - see video below on SWAT teams in the US!

The agenda report presented to secure the grant also states that, through this grant process, areas of Santa Cruz are now designated as Federal Buffer Zones. This is a federal designation of areas at high risk for terrorism.

Placing a BearCat in Santa Cruz is part of a concerted effort by the Department of Homeland Security to provide armored vehicles and mine-resistant vehicles to law enforcement agencies all across the country (as well as other military-style weapons, training and surveillance equipment, including Stingrays, Automatic License Plate Readers, and Drones). This phenomenon is now commonly referred to as “militarization of police.”

The BearCat that is currently on order for Santa Cruz has military capabilities. One was seen prominently in the videos from Ferguson, MO . Having it here would represent a paradigm shift toward militarization in law enforcement equipment in our community! Police departments all across the United States are militarizing their forces. Santa Cruz should not join this trend!

SEND BACK the BearCat!

For More Information See:
SWAT Mission Creep

Dr. Peter Kraska: Senate Hearing - Police Use of Military Equipment

Local News:
Santa Cruz Residents Continue to Call for Police to "Give Back the BearCat"

Hundreds Protest Approval of Police Attack Vehicle Purchase at SC City Council Meeting

Voices from the Village Presents:
“The BEARCAT and Militarization of Our Local Police”

This Sunday night, February 8th, at 7:00 on Community TV Channel 27, on Voices from the Village we will be discussing the recent events surrounding the decision by the Santa Cruz City Council to accept a grant from the Department of Homeland Security to fund the purchase of a BEARCAT first responder vehicle.

Guests will include local journalist John Malkin, long time Santa Cruz activist Sherry Conable, retired firefighter and Santa Cruz resident Ron Pomerantz and SCRAM! (Santa Cruz Resistance Against Militarization) founding member Abbi Samuels.

Please join us for what promises be an informative and entertaining hour of discussion about these very important and extremely topical issues. This is a live call in program. You can reach us @ 831-425-8848 ex 30.

Brought to you by Community Television of Santa Cruz County and Producers Charlie and Betsy Phillips.

For more info about this event: spleich@gmail.com

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