After seeing those cool anti-protest riot vehicles in action at Occupy Oakland events this past year, the UCPD, Berkeley PD and Albany PD have acted on their riot squad envy and formed a mutual aid agreement to secure funding for their very own monster truck from a Department of Homeland Security anti-terrorist initiative.
According to the Daily Cal, the three departments have already given their new toy the excellent codename: "East Bay Tactical Intervention Vehicle", and will be presenting their proposal before the Berkeley City Council at the end of this month. If Berkley PD's mutual aid agreement, and the proposal are approved, the vehicle will be paid for by funds from the Urban Areas Security Initiative — a grant program through the Department of Homeland Security that provides funds to local authorities to protect against terrorism in "high-threat, high-density urban areas."
The Berkeleyans — folks known for occasionally being loud, but not especially dangerous terrorism-wise — are naturally not enjoying the thought of the local police force being so heavily armed. The Coalition for a Safe Berkeley, which brands itself as a group working to increase civilian oversight of police, called the Urban Areas Security Initiative an attempt by the DHS to "militarize" the local cops. A spokesman for the UCPD, whose department will be responsible for the vehicle despite a history of getting rowdy with the public, explained the tank-like thing is "just a resource the agencies are trying to acquire in terms of protection for the community."
Berkeley Police Sgt. Mary Kusmiss, elaborated a little bit, telling the Daily Cal it would used in times of crowd unrest, or threats to the safety of the public like "active shooters, barricaded subjects and rescuing individuals." So, it will be handy if a sniper ever climbs the Campanile, at least.
In addition to riots and hostage situations, Sgt. Kusmiss also said the vehicle could make appearances at Cal sporting events. What she didn't say was how much fun UC cops could have using it to intimidate the crap out of Stanford fans.