Sep 6, 2016

"This is not an armored tank but a rescue recovery vehicle"

In his remarks to the Board of Supervisors this morning about the purchase of a BEARCAT, Sheriff Mike Downey said, "There is an educational component about this that needs to be addressed."

Sheriff Downey spoke about the need for Humboldt County to have its own BEARCAT. Referring tio the standoff between law enforcement and David Fulton in McKinleyville recently, "I guarantee without the use of the Mendocino County BEARCAT provided to us, we would not have been able to remove people without harm." He spoke of the bullet holes in the adjoining apartment as one example.

Sheriff Downey brought up other examples in the last two years. The situation where Nick Johnson shot at the District Attorney investigators in a residential neighborhood; former Deputy Bang Cao who was shot at in Shelter Cover, "thankfully the bulletproof vest saved his life."

Sheriff Downey said that the Fire Department would stage and not go into a dangerous situation unless law enforcement arrived and took appropriate measures. This delay affects public safety.

"We are living in a  time where it is not just the U.S. or California but also Humboldt" said Sheriff Downey talking about the danger first responders, especially law enforcement faces today.

When responding to the recent double homicide in Hyampom, "numerous rounds were fired into a building."

"This is not an armored tank but a rescue recovery vehicle," said Sheriff Downey.  When Mendocin0 first got its BEARCAT, Sheriff Tom Allman said people were sceptical but then they saw how lives were saved.

Addressing the comment made by some that this vehicle would just sit around and collect dust, Sheriff Downey said it would get a lot of use. In addition to what he mentioned above, he said "it will be used in high felony warrants."

Eureka Police Chief Andy Mills spoke in support of this purchase. Sheriff Downey asked him to because EPD officers are involved in the regional SWAT team.

Chief Mills explained that the use of a BEARCAT would allow the Sheriff's office and tactical operators to reduce force in certain situations. One way is to use a BEARCAT; another way is to fire "rounds of suppression."

"It can also be used to extricate  downed suspects and vehicles," said Chief Mills. He also brought up the examples of the mass shooting all over the U.S. and said that even though we are behind the Redwood Curtain, it does not mean a similar situation cannot occur locally.

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