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Indybay Feature
Petition to "Give Back the Bearcat"
by Steve Pleich (spleich [at]
Sunday Dec 14th, 2014 11:20 AM
Stop Militarization of Local Law Enforcement

On December 9 the Santa Cruz City Council passed a Resolution to accept a Homeland Security Grant in the amount of $251,293 for the purchase of a regional emergency response and rescue vehicle. The fact that this Resolution was passed without the opportunity for full and fair pubic comment is unacceptable. Many residents of our community are concerned that the acquisition of the vehicle known as a Lenco Bearcat raises important questions about the progressive militarization of local law enforcement and does not accurately reflect the views and opinions of the citizens of Santa Cruz.

We the undersigned call upon of City Council Members to join with their fellow elected representatives in Berkeley, San Jose and Davis in taking the principled stand to rescind the Resolution accepting the Homeland Security grant and "Give Back the Bearcat". We also call upon our elected officials to schedule a special session of City Council so that the citizens of Santa Cruz will the opportunity for a full, fair and transparent discussion about the issue of militarization of local law enforcement.

Why is this important?

Many small to medium sized municipalities are being progressively militarized through programs like the Department of Defense 1033 Program and are in danger of becoming agencies that adopt strategies to impose order rather than to protect the public order.

Dear Friends,

I just signed the petition "Give Back the Bearcat - Stop Militarization of Local Law Enforcement" and wanted to ask if you could add your name too.

This campaign means a lot to me and the more support we can get behind it, the better chance we have of succeeding. You can read more and sign the petition here:

Thank you!

Can you also take a moment to share the petition with others? It's really easy – all you need to do is forward this email or share this link on Facebook or Twitter:

Comments  (Hide Comments)

by bbsc
Sunday Dec 14th, 2014 9:56 PM
we need to organize the diversity of opposition to the militarized police state in santa cruz. collecting names and contact info is a fine start. since a legally non binding petition will likely be ignored, others may want to start RECALL PETITIONS of the 6 city council fux who shoved this down our throats.
by Sylvia
Monday Dec 15th, 2014 10:28 AM
Lenco has produced more than 5,000 armored vehicles for use in more than 40 countries worldwide.

BearCat is an acronym, standing for Ballistic Engineered Armored Response Counter Attack Truck
by Lane (posted by Norse)
Monday Dec 15th, 2014 7:12 PM
The city/mayor showed 3 concrete examples of recent horrific crimes and how this vehicle could have functionally helped in a defensive way to protect police and citizens alike.

On the flip side, I've only been shown dire predictions and finger pointing to what other communities did with theirs, and intimations that ours will be used in similar wrong fashion.

I'm going to go with the vehicle, and I'll sign petitions to have it removed only if and when its used inappropriately.
by Robert Norse
Tuesday Dec 16th, 2014 8:56 AM
Brent Adams has created a video of some of December 9th City Council meeting that bulldozed through the Bearcast at . The official City Council video, though available at City Hall for $1 on DVD, has not yet been posted on line, allegedly for "technical reasons".

In the same posting, you can find further questions for Bearcat supporter Mayor Don Lane by activist Abbi Samuels.

The Wedneday December 17 protest at SCPD HQ (and on the adjacent "Cop Corner" at Laurel and Center) will feature a stand-up speak-out. Possibly in the rain. Bring umbrellas. Hot coffee, brownies, and soup willl likely be available to warm spirits.
Officers? City Council members? Staff? Legal Council? What requirements must be met for prosecution and incarceration? Are lethal force weapons like the BEARCAT subject to no regulation, at all?
by Robert Norse
Monday Dec 22nd, 2014 9:22 AM
...go to and click on "Santa Cruz City Meetings" and then on "Santa Cruz City Council 12-9-14". The meeting is still not up on the City's website, but anyone can get a disc for $1 from City Council offices (if you do it before the offices close for the holidays).

There was some concern that the video was being intentionally withheld. Whether that's true or not (which I doubt), it is available for viewing on the Community TV website.
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