I don’t think San Diego rates something this big. This is the Cornfederate version.
The nation gaped at the sight of a military-grade Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected vehicle trundling through Ferguson, but it turns out that was relatively restrained policing.
Relative, that is, to San Diego, where police will use a similar steel behemoth for the city’s schools.
The San Diego Unified School District Police Department has acquired its own vehicle, known as a MRAP, and expect it to be operational by October.
“I can totally see people thinking ‘Oh, my God. Are they going to be rolling armoured vehicles into our schools and what the hell’s going on?’” Captain Joe Florentino told local media.
Police intended to use it to rescue children – be it from rampaging gunmen or natural disasters, he said. “When we have an emergency at a school, we’ve got to get in and save kids…”
San Diego’s school police obtained the MRAP in April and have been busy modifying it at a transportation centre in the east of the city. Details emerged only this week. Critics were not mollified by the fact the district got the vehicle, valued at $700,000, for free.
“We should not have got it in the first place,” Scott Barnett, a unified school district board trustee, told the Guardian on Thursday before a press conference announcing his opposition. “It sends a wrong message, a message contrary to what we are. We’re an educational institution…”
Barnett’s primary concern was not militarisation – “I would not use that term per se” – but utility and cost of use and maintenance. He proposed leasing it to another police force and using the revenue to replace the school district’s 10 ageing patrol cars. “Most of our vehicles are in serious disrepair, and we use them on a daily basis.”
Thrill-seeking, arrested-development coppers playing at class warfare foretell the end of civilization.
Who needs schoolbooks, anyway?