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Berkeley Campus Police Get $200,000 Grant to Buy Armored Car

Berkeley Campus Police Get $200,000 Grant to Buy Armored Car

The University of California at Berkeley is infamous for its long record of facing protests and disorder, both from students and from outside forces. Indeed, ever since the infamous "free speech" protests at Berkeley in the 60's, the campus' name has practically become synonymous with left wing protest. Consider this clip of Berkeley activist Mario Savio from 1964:

Now, however, it looks like the UC Berkeley Campus Police are finally getting serious - perhaps a little too serious. Josiah Ryan at Campus Reform recently received news from a Berkeley Campus Police spokesman that the unit received a $200,000 grant to buy an armored vehicle known as a Bearcat. For those of you who don't follow weapons grade automobiles, this is the object in question:

Imagine that thing driving up to a group of protesters and see if you can imagine them sticking around for very long. Here's the full story from Ryan's article:

Lt. Eric Tejada, a spokesman for UCPD, said the university plans to use the vehicle along with neighboring counties in dangerous situations that could involved heavy weapons.

Tejada said that although he does know of any incident in the university's 144-year history in which such a vehicle would have saved a life, the police department would have have liked to deploy it in an incident last year when they mistakenly believed a man had an AK-47 assault rifle.[...]

The tactical working group of which the UCPD is a member said "the armored vehicle is needed for 'large incidents' such as CAL games and the Solano Stroll," notes the [Berkeley City Council] meeting's minutes.

The grant was obtained under the DHS's Urban Areas Security Initiative. The vehicle will be shared with two neighboring jurisdictions and likely will not be stored on UC-Berkeley's campus, said Tejada.

Naturally enough, some Professors (even at other schools) are crying foul, claiming that the university should be spending more money on preventing crime, not using massive armored vehicles to fight it. This might be true, but we're not sure we accept that the dichotomy has to be that strict. Knowing that a Bearcat can drive up at any second will probably deter any campus thugs from doing anything particularly objectionable. We know deterrence is out of fashion as a theory of criminal justice, but in all seriousness

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