We the undersigned, students, faculty, and citizens are outraged by the non-transparent and undemocratic decision of the University of California Police Department (UCPD) and Berkeley Police Department (BPD) to procure a "BearCat" armored vehicle.
We hereby demand that UCPD desist from being the agency to procure the BearCat, and that BPD take responsibility for procurement and thereby a vote by the Berkeley City Council.
This military grade armored vehicle is not appropriate to have on any college campus. It is more appropriate for war than community policing. Such a decision must be brought before the Berkeley City Council under democratic means.
The militarization of police is an alarming trend. This petition is a local call to action to prevent a university police department from acquiring an urban assault vehicle known as a "BearCat"
The Berkeley Police Department (BPD) was the lead agency in writing a grant to the Homeland Security Department for a Lenco BearCat with hydraulic ram costing over $200,000.00. The BearCat is a class of armored urban assault vehicles that are a booming trend to possess for American police forces. This armored vehicle is said to be shared between the UC Police Department (UCPD), BPD, and Albany PD.
After being awarded the grant from the Department of Homeland Security, the Berkeley Police Department asked the UC Police Department to take the lead on procuring the BearCat. UCPD is a state agency while BPD is a city agency. The Berkeley City Council would normally had to have authorizing this grant process, however because UCPD took charge in procurement, this armored vehicle is coming into Berkeley without any democratically elected body's approval. Only through a California Public Records Act request by a City Council member was this shadowy move brought to light.
Within the UC Berkeley Administration, Vice Chancellor of Administration and Finance John Wilton is ultimately responsible for UCPD and therefore his department has the capability to stop this armored urban assault vehicle coming onto the UC Berkeley campus.
Picture of BearCat: