The Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) police department has acquired a 14-ton armored vehicle and grenade launchers from the Pentagon.
The armored vehicle is just like the kind used to transport U.S. troops in war zones such as Iraq and Afghanistan.
“For us? That vehicle would be used for extraordinary circumstances,” LAUSD Police Chief Steve Zipperman told CBS Los Angeles.
“It’s something that we believe is a life-saving vehicle,” added Chief Zipperman. “And certainly we realize we need to take a look, is this the best alternative right now for us until we find something else that is more conducive to a police-type of rescue.”
The LAUSD also has grenade launchers from the U.S. Department of Defense.
“It’s a piece of equipment that’s not essential for our mission, so we will be disposing of those,” stated Chief Zipperman.
Chief Zipperman dismissed the obvious comparison to the U.S. military vehicles used by police in Ferguson, Mo., against protesters and the media.
“I can’t allow whatever political ramifications or analysis in Ferguson suggest how I want to make a decision on how to best make sure we respond at the LAUSD,” Chief Zipperman. “To suggest that it’s a threatening type of equipment or equipment for a show of force, that is not the case."
The Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) is trying to play down its acquisition of two miniature helicopter drones that were given away by the Seattle Police Department.
The drones include video cameras and night-vision lenses, but will only be used by SWAT teams during hostage situations or when someone is barricaded, LAPD spokesman Commander Andrew Smith told Reuters.
As in Seattle, civil libertarians are raising privacy questions about the LAPD using drones, especially given the long history of civil rights violations by the LAPD.
Sources: Reuters, CBS Los Angeles (Image Credit: RPG720)