Sep 3, 2016

Given the recent use of Mendocino County's bearcat in McKinleyville, will the Supervisors grant HCSO request for purchase of a Bearcat?

Given the recent use of the Bearcat in the McKinleyville incident which resulted in the death of David Fulton, will the Board of Supervisors grant HCSO request for the purchase of a Bearcat?

Agenda item at this Tuesday's Board Board of Supervisors meeting:

That the Board of Supervisors direct the CAO to identity Measure Z savings from FY 16/17 in the amount of $175,000; direct the Auditor Controller to supplement the Sheriff's Measure Z budget (Unit 297) in the amount of $295,000 and adopt the attached supplemental budget for the purchase of a Lenco Bearcat (4/5 vote required). Recommendation: Attachments: Bearcat Rescue and Recovery Vehicle.pdf

RECOMMENDATION(S): 1) Direct the CAD to identity Measure Z savings from FY 16/17 in the amount of $175,000 2) Direct the Auditor Controller to supplement the Sheriffs Measure Z budget (Unit 297) in the amount of $295,000 and adopt the attached supplemental budget for the purchase of a Lenco Bearcat (4/5 vote required). SOURCE OF FUNDING: General Fund (Measure Z)

DISCUSSION: During the current-year Measure Z funding cycle. Sheriff Downey submitted a request for $290,358 to purchase a Lenco Bearcat Rescue and Recovery Vehicle. That request was supported and recommended for funding by the Citizen's Advisory Committee. The Board chose not to grant the request, but expressed that it would be willing to reconsider the application at mid-year, and requested that the Sheriff explore other funding options to help defray the significant cost of the vehicle.


  1. A two-part total of half a million dollars plus unspoken and indefinite storage, maintenance and personnel costs? The vehicle isn't necessary to begin with and the HCSO is doing the public an expensive disservice with this request.

  2. You are entitled to your opinion. I will wait for the discussion on Tuesday.

  3. Are there any studies on the actual uses, costs and benefits of the Bearcat in Mendocino County?
    I would think they'd have a record of when it was called out, what for, how beneficial it was as well as how many people are trained to operate it and the cost of training.
    Were I a supervisor those are things I would have asked for and more. A verified cost-analysis as well as other reports on the equipment's usage elsewhere. The Wiki article lists the places in the US that currently use it including El Dorado county.
    I don't know what sort of information was provided to the supervisors. I know there are always five demands for funding when there's only enough for one (not just in Humboldt).
    I wonder how much of the resistance comes from perceiving it as an armed 'attack' vehicle when its form and construction really make it more a 'defense' vehicle.
    Putting the cost and where the money comes from, to me the question is: Will it help save lives and in violent situations does it decrease or increase the engagement with the suspect?
    I'm biased. I remember the shootout in San Fernando valley (LA) where the bank robbers outgunned the police. Lives were lost, people were seriously injured. I think n measuring their losses, the LAPD had enough reasons to sign on for a Bearcat.
    AS far as seeking funding elsewhere, is there someone in the HCSD who writes grants for such things? I took a grant writing workshop at CR and the instructor spoke of all the grants for law enforcement departments and used them as examples (successful applications).

    1. All these questions will be answered Tuesday. Just based on the lawlessness, anti law enforcement attitude in general these days and the recent standoff in Mckinleyville which had no innocent civilian loss, no law enforcement life lost, I say yes. Measure Z was passed for public safety. The funds are there.

    2. I'm very pro-police but that has nothing to do with the fact that they are human and just as capable of mismanaging funds as any other sector. I'd rather see the money pay for a few more officers in high crime areas, even if for a single year, than for an armored SUV to collect dust in a publicly funded garage.