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Council OKs Purchase of Armored Vehicle

The total cost of the armored truck would be $161,001.

The same day four suspects opened fire during a jewelry store , Newark's city council unanimously voted to allow Newark police to sign an agreement to purchase an that could be used during high-risk incidents.

The council’s vote allows Newark police to sign a seven-year lease with an option to purchase a Lenco BearCat armored rescue vehicle and adopt Lenco Industries as its sole source vendor.

And while the decision was made unanimously among the five-member council, Newark residents spoke out against the purchase.

Newark resident Margaret Lewis said funds used to purchase the vehicle could be used for other services, such as re-opening the city’s community center, establishing more after-school programs and eliminating city furlough days. Newark’s city offices are closed every other Friday.

Lewis also said she opposed the purchase of the vehicle because neighboring agencies have similar resources.

Similar vehicles are currently used by numerous law enforcement agencies, including neighboring police departments in Fremont, Union City and Hayward.

But Newark police currently does not have vehicles that protect its officers from ballistics, such as gunshots, projectiles and explosions, according to city staff.

The Lenco BearCat would act as armored protection for the police department’s patrol and SWAT officers and innocent citizens in emergency situations, such as “barricaded (armed) subjects, school shootings, terrorist attacks, and other active shooter incidents,” according to city documents.

In those documents, Police Chief James Leal added it would take at least 30 minutes to have those resources made available from outside agencies and the delay could put the department in a major disadvantage when it comes to rescue.

Other Newark residents who spoke in support of obtaining the armored vehicle emphasized the significance of time when it comes to threatening scenarios and public safety.

Jim Lola said he’s been in situations where an armored rescue vehicle was beneficial to him and noted his understanding is armored rescue carriers primarily have two purposes: to transport law enforcement officers to hazardous situations and withdraw innocent civilians from dangerous areas.

“Time is always of the essence. I actually do support the use of armored rescue carriers,” Lola said.

Newark resident Tim Jones, who also works part time for the police department, also noted time is important when danger escalates and said Thursday’s armed robbery at is a prime example of where an armored rescue carrier could have been valuable – had the situation worsened.

Although no one was injured in that robbery, authorities said four men, all armed with semi-automatic handguns, entered inside of NewPark Mall, smashed display cases and opened fire. They fled through JC Penney’s and into two vehicles.

“That situation could’ve been escalated to a very bad situation, very quickly, had the …[suspects’ escape] plans gone sour,” Jones said. “You had a [nearby] full of small kids. We had lots of people at the mall shopping with their families and kids. We had four guys with four guns…That situation could’ve got really ugly really quick.”

He said if someone had been wounded Thursday or becomes wounded in a similar act of violence, time becomes crucial.

“We don’t have 30 to 40 minutes to wait for Fremont or Union City to bring their carrier over,” Jones said.

The cost to lease the vehicle is $161,000, according to city documents, and the would have the option to purchase the armored personnel carrier for $1 at the end of the lease’s term.

A new Lenco BearCat armored vehicle could cost approximately $340,000, city documents state.

According to the agenda, the cost would be $28,000 in the first year and $17,000 for six years after. The costs, according to staff, would be offset by transferring funds from the police department’s tow fund into the city’s general fund expenses related to traffic safety and overtime, according to the agenda.

The net expense for the city of Newark would be approximately $6,000 each year for seven years, which is included in the , according to city documents.

City documents show the vehicle to be purchased is refurbished and has less than 25,000 miles. Its life expectancy ranges from 25 to 30 years.

Do you agree with the council’s decision to allow the purchase of an armored rescue carrier? Why or why not? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below.

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NewBomb Turk July 27, 2012 at 05:59 PM
A used vehicle for almost half a million $s. Jones said had the situation worsened at the mall we could have used it. How?, by driving it through the Mall doors and run over the suspects? These vehicles are used for riots and chaos out in public. Not in residential homes and inside stores and shops. I've seen other cities using there armored vehicles for serving warrants on Sunday mornings. Should we have looked into past situations that it would have been helpful. You have to get out of the truck to get the bad guys.If you look at some of the worst stuff we've had, The home robbery and chase up Mowry endind in a crash and death at the fire station. The mall jewelry store, even the pawn shop owner in Fremont a few years back. How would this had helped? Not trying to bash on the city, just trying to figure out why this money didn't go to the Schools.
Margaret Lewis July 27, 2012 at 06:24 PM
Here is a link to Berkeley Patch and their story on rejecting an APC. Check out the picture of a BearCat. This is what the city council wants driving around Newark. http://berkeley.patch.com/articles/university-rejects-armored-truck#photo-10036647
Albert Rubio July 27, 2012 at 06:33 PM
Police drug dogs on campuses and now armored vehicles. Thank you Margaret for sharing the link. Notice - three cities would share the vehicle and Newark want's its own at the burden of the small pool of taxpayers. "Had the tank rolled onto the campus as planned, Birgenau knew he could be looking at "endless demonstrations," Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates said. "Berkeley, Albany and UC Berkeley police departments teamed up as the North County Tactical Working Group to apply for a $170,000 grant from the Urban Areas Security Initiative to pay for the Lenco BearCat, which was approved. Berkeley police would have had access to the truck, but the university would have retained ownership. The purchase did not flout any city rules, but nonetheless drew the ire of residents and Berkeley City Council members, who said it represented a militarization of the police."
Margaret Lewis July 27, 2012 at 06:57 PM
Newark reduced park maintenance, shut down the community center and closed city hall on alternate Fridays. Public complaints about parks led the city to rescind the decision only to turn around and spend $100K on a stadium-size lawn mower. The city complained about loss of revenue as businesses fled the city so we were given a utility tax as a city bail-out. The city spends $20K on a CalPoly general plan enhancement term paper, $80K on consultants to come up with a plan to rescue our third-rate mall; and a couple hundred thousand for consultants to give the old general plan a "tune-up". And now the city wants an armored tank roaming around our streets. The community center is still closed, city hall is still closed on alternate Fridays and businesses are looking to relocate elsewhere. Retail is leaving the mall, Newark wastes money holding off-year elections and a recent audit showed Newark had a significant number of excess of expenditures over appropriations. Auditors found numerous misstatements in city financial statements and the city was unable to close its books and generate year-end reports. The mayor and council continue to let us down except for one thing; Newark has its very own urban assault vehicle that is sure to attract business and make our city safer.
James Nelson July 27, 2012 at 07:34 PM
I'm Pleased! Another Photo to add to my Collection! Hopefully it will have the words "Newark Police" on it, this is a History moment and I for one will savior it. ;)
James Nelson July 27, 2012 at 07:35 PM
Yes I meant "Savior" it. Spelling Nazis...
Mona Taplin July 27, 2012 at 09:14 PM
Like insurance, I for one hope we will never need the Armored vehicle,- but if it at some time spares just one life it will be well worth triple the funds expended. I applaud the city council for this action. YES, this city does indeed have other needs,- not just "wants", -but safety most come before all else. Hooray for NEWARK!
James Nelson July 27, 2012 at 09:19 PM
Finally someone that "gets it". Thanks Mona for putting it into perspective. (No Sarcasm).
NewBomb Turk July 27, 2012 at 09:59 PM
How about a monthly report on what our new or used vehicle is been up too.
Gary Adams July 27, 2012 at 10:15 PM
I'm with Newbomb Turk. I simply can't see how this vehicle could have helped in the Mall robbery. This thing is for riot control and transport; as soon as the officers leave the vehicle it's useless. It makes me think of what a circling 747 could have done to help the sinking Titanic.
Albert Rubio July 27, 2012 at 10:37 PM
The idea sounds great, but nothing is for free and all arguments with cost-less analysis are dubious. Ultimately it comes down to this. One family may value home security over a vacation or increased savings. Another family may value a vacation over the other options, and yet a third will value increased savings. Each can decide for themselves peacefully, but not one for the other which would cause conflicts. Political issues are pernicious because one group makes decisions for the others and the others resent (rightfully) to pay for what they do not believe in. People who don't care about forcing others are Fascists. People who think this is everyone's responsibility are Socialists. People who think people should not be forced into this situation in the first place are Liberals (libertarians).
Godpeehs July 27, 2012 at 10:54 PM
You talk about not wasting money! How many man hours will the city pay out to prepare the report. So we print it on paper or email it. Should we pay an officer to prepare the report or a boss who is paid more. And what would be appropriate use for it...if it doesnt save someone the first year ask for a refund? If it is used for every call involving guns it would be worth it but then we would be debating its fuel usage on here. How about piece of mind knowing the police have the equipment needed to rescue you if you needed it. Would you want to be the poor sap lying in your own pool of blood if gunmen rob your local mall jewelry store and get scared when an officer luckily gets there before they can leave and traps them. When they shoot at the officer but hit you walking or running away while the officer sits there and tries to survive...doing what he dedicated himself or herself to do...waiting for help and unable to help you. How will you feel when in 5 or 10 minutes... the armored car is immediately driven from our cities police station and is parked between you and the gunmen. The wait will seem like forever...but I think it will be better than waiting 30 to 40 minutes. I would love to hear an opinion if the used vehicle saved your life (not directed at anyone specifically) or a loved ones. Just one life will make it worth it. But i guess we wont know unless Newark experiences a shooter trying to kill and the save can actually be recorded.
Godpeehs July 27, 2012 at 11:12 PM
@Gary- Its armored...they can hide behind it to pick someone up or keep from being hit by flying bullets. A circling 747, flying low enough, could have dropped their inflatable rafts...saved some more people..not all but more. At the mall, they got away before the police arrived...but...what if they got trapped in their car... in a store with a back door... they have to come out eventually... the armor will help at some point. How about.. just for fun... we turn the table and use the same thinking with the community center or the senior center...they are useless unoccupied when they are closed down due to money so why dont we sell one and direct the profits towards the other ..or are we holding on just in case something happens with the future budgets. Just in case? Good reason to still own them right? The buildings can still be used on occasion.
Margaret Lewis July 27, 2012 at 11:25 PM
A 911 call comes in to the dispatcher. Police and fire with paramedic are sent out as first responders. The tend to any victims and call for additional resources. SWAT, if needed, from mutual aid jurisdictions. Internal and external perimeters are set up at the scene so responders have room to work and the public is kept away. The incident yesterday would not have needed an armored vehicle. It cannot access the inside of the mall and the inside of any building. It is meant to transport officers and nothing more. It arrives too late for a smash-and-grab. To man an armored vehicle Newark would have to call in off-duty responders so as not to deplete current on-duty personnel. That's why mutual aid is used. Fremont, Union City and County Sheriff. An APC is too slow for first responders.
Godpeehs July 28, 2012 at 12:01 AM
@Margaret- I must disagree. I have seen the fire department waiting down the street from where a lot of police are at an emergency. I asked an officer why they were so far away and i was told they wait at a safe distance until it is safe for non police first responders...if swat will be needed they would not allow the fire department or paramedics in. Especially if someone needed to be rescued first. And there would be someone or many who can drive the armored car. It would be not smart to only have one or two who potentially would be off duty. There are many on the swat team and every officer would be capable of driving it in an emergency... its not lime they would hide the keys
J. Conseco July 28, 2012 at 07:04 AM
What a complete waste. If there was ever a situation that warranted the use of that kind of vehicle the cops would be running away faster than a frenchman from a capgun.
Barney Google July 28, 2012 at 02:42 PM
I feel much safer knowing that the Newark Keystone Cops will be able to save me while their protected inside of an Armored Car. Oh Wait, maybe they'll be able to Enforce Illegal Fireworks usage next year.
Mona Taplin July 28, 2012 at 03:59 PM
Well I certainly hope our police officers would run for cover rather than stand there and get shot so you could think of them as heros. Police are outgunned and out equipped many times and we complain about that. Now we try to provide them and the public with a vehicle that could very well save lives and we complain. YES I would like to see the end of friday closings for the City Hall, and y es I would like to see the Civic center opened again. But I much prefer to see a well equipped police depatment with everything it needs to protect our officers and the public in any given situation. It's been an inconvenience to some to have the Civic Center closed but we are getting by withour opening it. With the increasing violence, can we get by without a well trained and equipped police department? I think not. I was personally strongly affected by the lack of weed control the past couple of years, but if I had to make a choice I'd put up eith the weeds and vote for equipping our police and hope they never are in a situation where that armored vehicle is needed.
Olek Lejbzon July 30, 2012 at 03:14 AM
What a joke. Everyone knows Newark police would drive the other way if a "serious threat" appeared. In the armored vehicle, Conseco is right. The Mayor allows the police to sit around in the police stations, because they are too fat to walk a beat, and protect the public. The average weight of the police here has to be well over 220 lbs., including the police women. It is a disgrace how Newark police hide from the community. Look at "community policing" in Independence Park, in the Ironbound. Do the police walk? NEVER. They sit in their air conditioned cars, surfing the web. Day or night. People get robbed at night frequently, and the Newark Police are there, in the middle of the Park, in the closed cars, obliviously sleeping. The police could very easily shut down the worst crime in this town, they have the manpower, but they make too much money allowing it to thrive. Things have not gotten any better since Mayor Sharp James. We just have a slick new face in the Mayor's office. He probably realized he better not get in the way of the money here, just serve his time and move up. Or stick around for the money?
Olek Lejbzon July 30, 2012 at 03:23 AM
$161,000 to lease this Hummer on Steroids? Where they going to take it, to Giants Stadium to tailgate? What is wrong with a used armored car? Newark is broke and infested with criminal enterprises, and the Police Brass are fiddling in their new toy.
Jacob M. July 30, 2012 at 06:54 AM
Ironbound? This is California, not New Jersey you twit!
Nadja Adolf August 01, 2012 at 07:08 AM
Even with an armored vehicle, the paramedics and fire staff will not be allowed in until the area is secure. Ordering all new patrol cars with armored doors would provide more protection to more officers and serve many of the purposes planned for this armored truck. Crashing building walls and raiding compounds might be of use in Iraq or Afghanistan - but in the US this sort of activity is generally frowned upon because of the risks to innocent bystanders. In short, this vehicle would likely sit in a driveway or parking lot at the site of a hostage situation or SWAT operation.

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