Sep 6, 2016

Humboldt County gets a Bearcat by unanimous vote

Today, the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors voted regarding a reconsideration request for a Bearcat that was brought forth by Supervisors Ryan Sundberg and Supervisor Mark Lovelace.

Humboldt County Sheriff Mike Downey, Undersheriff William Honsal, Eureka Police Chief Andy Mills.

Other options, including funding were explored. It will take 8 months to get the Bearcat ordered, said Supervisor Sundberg.

"The Board of Supervisors made an appropriate decision based on welfare and safety of all residents and law enforcement in Humboldt County," Sheriff Downey told me after the vote. "I appreciate this item moving forward."

A core group of operators will be trained in using the BEARCAT.

Sheriff Downey and the Supervisors thanked Mendocino Sheriff Tom Allman for the use of his county's BEARCAT and personally coming up here for the McKinleyville standoff.

The attachment to the agenda on this item explains HCSO's request for Bearcat purchase:

Date: August 19, 2016
To: Board of Supervisors
From: Supervisor Mark Lovelace and Supervisor Ryan Sundberg
Subject: Reconsider the request from Sheriff Mike Dovvney to Purchase a Bearcat Rescue and
Recovery Vehicle (4/5 Vote Required)
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.

The recent active shooter situation in McKinleyville put the lives of neighboring residents in jeopardy, along with law enforcement officers from the Humboldt County Sheriffs Office and other responding
agencies. The Humboldt County Sheriffs Office requested support from the Mendocino County Sheriffs Office, which brought their Lenco Bearcat to the scene. The Bearcat was used to successfully evacuate nearby residents who otherwise would have had to place themselves, and law enforcement, in the line of
fire to escape. This event effectively proved the value and usefulness of the Lenco Bearcat as a defensive
vehicle for protecting the lives of the public.
Prior to this incident, Sheriff Downey had met with the Homeland Security Funding Committee, comprised
of Arcata Police Chief Tom Chapman, Fortuna Fire Chief Lon Winbtim, Humboldt Bay Fire Chief Bill
Gillespie, Public Health Officer Don Baird and Sheriff Downey. The Committee anticipates approximately
$205,000 of Homeland Security grant funding will be available to the County this year, and stated its
willingness to include a request of $120,000 for the Bearcat in its application.
An additional $175,000 is needed to complete the purchase. Sheriff Downey is requesting the Board of
Supervisors consider utilizing Measure Z funding to leverage the $120,000 committed by the Homeland
Security Committee. If the Board does not approve this additional funding. Sheriff Downey will withdraw
his request for the $120,000 by the end of September so that the Committee can apply that ftmding towards
other needs in its Homeland Security grant application.
Should the Board grant this purchase, Lenco Industries would request a purchase order number from the
County with payment due upon delivery, which takes 6 to 8 months.
Sheriff Downey believes the recent incident demonstrates that the purchase of the Bearcat is in the best
interest of Humboldt County and is essential for protecting public safety.
FINANCIAL IMPACT: $295,000 from the General Fund (Measure Z)
OTHER AGENCY INVOLVEMENT: Homeland Security Funding Committee
ATTACHMENTS: August 18 e-mail to the Board from Sheriff Mike Downey


Hayes, Kathy
From: Lovelace, Mark
Sent: Wednesday, August 24, 2016 4:30 PM
To: Hayes, Kathy
Subject: FW: Bearcat
HI, Kathy. Please Include this email as an attachment for the Bearcat item.
Mark Lovelace
3rd District Supervisor
County of Humboldt
825 5th Street
Eureka, CA 95501
(707) 476-2393
From: Downey, Mike
Sent: Thursday, August 18, 2016 10:57 AM
To: Sundberg, Ryan <>: Bohn, Rex <>: Bass, Virginia
<>: Lovelace, Mark <>: Fennell, Estelle
<>: Nilsen, Amy <>
Cc: Honsal, William <>: Quenell, Bryan <>: Fleming, Maggie
<>: Lanni, Dorie <>: Lorenzo, Norma
<>: Thompson, Kym <>
Subject: Bearcat
As you are aware the Sheriffs Office was involved in a life threatening situation yesterday, which put Law Enforcement
officer's lives in jeopardy along with the general public. I can't thank Mendocino County Sheriff Tom AHman enough for
sending resources to aid in our operation, one of the most important assets was the Lenco Bearcat rescue and recovery
vehicle, which was used extensively in the deployment of personnel and the extraction of those who lived in the
apartment complex.
As discussed during the measure Z funding meeting I have sought funding to assist in the purchase of the vehicle.
Yesterday the homeland security funding committee meet to discuss allocation of funding for 2016. Members of the
committee are myself, Chief Tom Chapman, Fire Chief Lon Winburn, Fire Chief Bill Gillespie and Doctor Don Baird. I
requested $120,000.00 to be used for the purchase of the bearcat an additional $175,000.00 is needed to complete the
purchase, which I hope can come from measure Z. 1 have promised the committee that if funding from Measure Z was
not available that I would withdraw my request, which would be by the final week of September.
To begin construction of the vehicle the company requests a purchase order number from the county with payment due
upon delivery, which takes 6 to 8 months. I believe this purchase is in the best interest of Humboldt County and
encourage the Board of Supervisors to make that allocation. I feel, based upon recent incidents, that the county would
have support for the communities In Humboldt County for this county-wide purchase. That vehicle would benefit the
whole county including all municipalities. Please consider my request and keep in mind the timeline I have laid out in
regards to the funding availability. Thank you Sheriff Mike Downey.


  1. Too bad the County couldn't just get the vehicle that Eureka sent back.

  2. What a waste of everybody's money.

  3. Tom, I would suggest you research the specifics of the Bearcat instead and read my post on the information from today's meeting which I am working on right now.

    Anonymous, your opinion is based on nothing other than your opinion. As one public commenter said today, "this is exactly why we passed Measure Z."

    Had a citizen or child been harmed in the recent McKinleyville incident, you'd be singing a different tune.

    Anonymous, to me the lives of innocent citizens and the safety of law enforcement that protects us is more important than the opinion of someone whose biggest risk taking is an anonymous comment on a blog.

  4. So greetings from Kabul, Afghanistan, where I have a unique perspective on this issue! The Bearcat manufactured by Lenco Armor is in fact a "civilianized" modification of a vehicle that the Army has had in its inventory for over 10 years called the MRAP, which stands for Mine Resistant Ambush Protected Vehicle. These vehicles have armor that will protect most occupants from most small arms fire. The main reason for the MRAP was to increase the survivability from IEDs or "Improvised Explosive Devices." The reality is that there are very few situations where this vehicle is needed, but when it is needed, it is the only vehicle that you would want. The sad commentary is that our community is absolutely flooded with firearms to the point that an individual who wanted to carry out an attack like in McKinleyville and try and kill police officers, he could with relative ease. That comes from attitudes that nothing should trample 2nd Amendment rights, even if some folks who get weapons use them to turn on police. The reality is that there are whole swaths of people that don't need nor should ever have access to weapons. I am disgusted by the fact that they are not impeded by that desire and ability to get weapons, but it is a reality. So the fact that our law enforcement NEED war time vehicles is the real issue. I do not question that need at all. I think this was the right decision, and I applaud the BoS for making it. Unanimously. The strategic thinker in me prefers to ask why our community is comparable to a War Zone for 15+ years, and needs this vehicle. No debate should occur that they needed it. Why our populace presents this threat should be the real debate!---LTC Allan Dollison