It appears that the Culver City Police Department anticipates an invasion by the Symbionese Liberation Army or some similar group. Otherwise, why would Culver City need to expend $450,000—a suspiciously rounded number—to purchase an armored counter attack truck? Where is the transparency?
Via Item No. C-10 on the August 26, 2019 City Council Agenda, CCPD seeks permission to purchase, without any competing bid and with no written statement of any need, a $450,000 “rescue vehicle. ” Describing it as a “rescue vehicle” is a thinly-veiled attempt to hide what it is. When tested at the U.S. Army Aberdeen Test Center in 2006 [sic], it was more realistically described as a “Ballistic Engineered Armored Response Counter Attack Truck (BearCat) … an armored personnel carrier.” It has thick-steel-armored bodywork completed with ballistic glass capable of multi-hits, blast-resistant floors, gun ports, roof hatches/turret and/or modifications such as lights/sirens/battering ram/winches/thermal cameras and spot lights.
Why hasn’t CCPD explained, publicly and in writing, the need for a counter attack truck and any selected model/size? Upon what facts, if any, does CCPD rely to justify the purchase? What happened in the past that demonstrates that there any need for an armored personnel carrier in Culver City? What does CCPD see in the Culver City’s future that there would be such a need? What supposed disaster would befall Culver City if the City Council rejects this war-wagon request?
CCPD should have provided the City Council and residents with a copy of the proposed $450,000 contract. A search of Culver City’s website yields no information. What is the City Manager’s position on this matter? Has the City Attorney reviewed and approved the form of the proposed contract?
Has CCPD explored any alternatives? What do competitors offer? Smokey Robinson’s mother cautioned, “You better shop around.” After a cursory search of the web, I found a company that fully refurbishes BearCats, where “The price of a refurbished BearCat starts at $125,000.” Is CCPD too proud to consider a pre-owned BearCat? What are the anticipated costs of maintaining and operating the beast?
This proposed purchase is another example of Culver City’s fraud, waste or abuse. Enough is enough.
Each City Council member owes a fiduciary duty to Culver City residents to draw the line with this obvious waste of taxpayers’ funds. At the most, the City Council might allow CCPD to re-present its case after it does its homework.
Les Greenberg, Esquire