During the pandemic, police departments across the country decided that now would be a great time to acquire armored tanks. And the reasons they use to justify those purchases are infuriating.
What started out as a ludicrous reason by police in Juneau, Alaska to justify purchasing a Lenco Armored Vehicle BearCat G3, has turned into a dubious campaign used by police across the country.
Eight days ago, the Juneau Empire reported how city officials thought that if the Juneau Police Department changed the paint color of their armored tank, the public would be more willing to accept it.
“It can’t look like what we see in these pictures here,” Assembly member Christine Woll said. “It’s a small thing, but I think it helps people understand what’s coming toward them in that moment,” Woll said.
After receiving startled reactions from the public, the police department claimed that they needed a tank to protect the public from extremist protests.
“The BearCat is a customizable all-steel armored vehicle that accommodates up to 12 fully-equipped officers, and used by police departments and other agencies for everything from rescues in difficult-to-access remote areas to ‘extremist’ protests where gunfire and other threats are present.”
Using the threat of “extremist” protests as a reason to purchase an armored tank is about as absurd as it gets. Or so I thought.
The Juneau police also claimed to need an armored tank to respond to landslides and avalanches.
“The Juneau Police Department envisions using the BearCat to respond to natural disasters such as landslides and avalanches where road access is impossible for existing vehicles, as well as high-threat situations such as evacuating people from neighborhoods while under gunfire.”
Which excuse is more preposterous? I am not sure, but I think it is probably the first: protecting the public from extremist protests. A close second, is needing tanks to respond to landslides and avalanches which stretches law enforcement’s credulity to absurd lengths.
But it gets better, as Deputy Police Chief David Campbell explains.
“A tremendous amount of thought went into this here – it’s not a knee jerk reaction,” he said. “To me my question isn’t why do we need this, it’s why haven’t we had this all along?”