San Jose and Davis CA to give up military vehicles

Spurred by reaction to police response in Ferguson, MO, San Jose and Davis, California are making some moves to demilitarize their police forces.

From the Chicago Tribune

Officials in San Jose and Davis took steps to jettison their so-called Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles this week.


Much of the controversy over the use of military equipment centers on the Pentagon's excess property program, which gives unused equipment to police forces across the country. The program has come under scrutiny after protests over the shooting of an unarmed black teenager by a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, where rifle-toting police in armored vehicles faced off against demonstrators in a response critics say helped fuel outrage.

Separate from the ridiculousness of a sleepy college town like Davis, California needing a vehicle built to withstand mine blasts, you'll remember they're the town infamous for the incident where campus police casually pepper sprayed a group of seated, non-violent protesters.


San Jose cited "community perceptions of such a vehicle."

Police response in Ferguson also seems to have affected other municipalities' decisions across the country

Also in recent days, a sheriff in New Jersey said he would stop the acquisition of a similar vehicle, and two police departments in North Carolina announced plans to hold forums to hear concerns about law enforcement's militarization.

Whether these are just temporary moves while the country's police are under the spotlight remains to be seen, but with Obama ordering a review of the Pentagon's practice of giving military equipment to police, they may also be the start of a nationwide trend to demilitarize police. And that could be as important a facet of Obama's legacy as anything, including healthcare, if the administration follows through.