San Diego Unified to return armored vehicle

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SAN DIEGO –The San Diego Unified School District announced Thursday it is returning an armored personnel vehicle it acquired through a department of defense excess property program.

“Some members of our community are not comfortable with the district having this vehicle,” said Superintendent Cindy Marten in a news release.

“’If any part of our community is not comfortable with it, we cannot be comfortable with it.”

“The safety and security of our students and schools is a top priority and we need to balance this priority with what the community`s perceptions are on how we best serve and protect. This provides us an important opportunity to have a greater dialogue with our community about what is really a common goal – providing our students a world-class education and the academic, social and physical environments they deserve,” Marten added.

“’The need for dialogue regarding student and school safety is an ongoing one, which should invite and welcome the voices of students, staff, parents, community members, law enforcement and others so we achieve that common goal together.’

The vehicle, a “mine- resistant ambush protected vehicle,” or “MRAP,” was intended for use by the school district police as a rescue vehicle to be used in the event of an active shooter situation or other emergency.

Critics complained it looked too much like a war machine.

6 comments

  • Jon

    That is the most ridiculous thing a school district would need. At $120,000 a year in maintenance costs that money is just wasted.

  • wes

    I though that is why they took the billion dollar loan for. Pensions and armor vehicle are why I take out loans that I can not pay back. Lets see what the tax payer has to say about this stupid decision.

  • bo

    First, the school police are sworn officers, with POST certificates, just like any other police officer has to have in California and they enforce the same laws they just work at schools.
    Second, police cars, fire trucks, and ambulances are not bullet proof. Therefore, it is hard to imagine why parents or whoever these outraged community members are, wouldnt want a vehicle capable of being used as a rescue vehicle, as well as to offer safety to first responders, when the next crazy person goes on a rampage. Unfortunately this is the society we live in were disturved individuals decide to take out their problems on innocent people. Let the police have the resources they need. I used to work at schools in education. You complain about vehicle maintenance fees per year, not that bad, but we are pumping more money towards education every year and the results are worse kids and parents dont care, but love to complain, without presenting solutions. Im sure people will be thinking different when there kids are stuck in school and something bad happens. That is when the people demand immediate response and they will demand officers go in without protection and get killed. It is sad.
    wake up people, I would like to see how you would enter a school under fire or clear a building after a shooting.

    • DavidM

      There is not a single thinking person who thinks this vehicle would EVER be a good idea for a police department with only 54 sworn officers and more than 200 properties to patrol. It would be stored 15-45 minutes (not counting traffic) from any of those possible “active shooter” properties. But FBI statistics show that “active shooter” situations are resolved, on average, within 10 minutes of the first appearance of law enforcement. Are LE now supposed to wait outside, like they did at Columbine, until their armored vehicle arrives? That’s what happened at Columbine, where students and at least one teacher bled to death while officers waited.
      An M-RAP is not stable; it is in fact very top heavy, and prone to tipping. You want your child in there while it tries to ford a flood area?
      If there is an earthquake of such magnitude that a child needs to be rescued from a school with something this big, what is keeping the garage from collapsing around it? How is the vehicle going to get to the school with collapsed bridges, abandoned cars, etc.?
      This was merely a solution looking for a problem, and a poorly reasoned decision by District Police.

  • JD

    Cindy Marten you really are a moron. ‘If any part of our community isn’t comfortable with it then we aren’t comfortable with it” Are you serious? Well, I’m not comfortable with you being superintendent and the many horrible decisions you make, therefore, I think you should step down. To the other people that responded about how our school system doesn’t need this, yes we do need it, in case of an emergency situation. It is not used for routine patrol by school police officers, and it doesn’t cost $120K a year to maintain. But, god forbid, we have a catastrophe like Columbine or Sandy Hook, I would want that armored vehicle to respond in case there are hostages or supplies that need to be brought into the wounded. With all the school shootings in this country it is better to have it and not need it than not have it and need it. The school district police department is not the agency that would be using it should the time arise. Trained SDPD, Sheriff or SWAT would be the one’s who operate it. If my child, or anyone’s child for that matter, is wounded inside a school, I want that armored vehicle coming in through the door. Yes, we all don’t want to think about a horrible tragedy like this happening in San Diego, but it IS a reality that could easily happen here. Better to be prepared. And if my spouse is the one who is responding to this school shooting, I want him to be well prepared so he is able to come home at night to his own family. Oh, but Cindy Marten would rather have officers enter a school shooting ill- prepared because some members of our community “aren’t comfortable with it.” Too bad!

    • DavidM

      You very clearly have not thought this through very well, except for maybe the part about the Superintendent’s qualifications . . .
      Let’s pretend that, worse comes to worse, an active shooter situation occurs at Mission Bay High School right after classes begin some morning. Someone calls 911, and the four SDPD units that regularly patrol Pacific Beach, along with the closest roving SDUSDP unit are dispatched; the SDPD SWAT team, and Sheriff’s SWAT team, are dispatched as well. Time from call to first arrival of officers, maybe 8-12 minutes, with first SWAT arrival in about 20-30 minutes, at most.
      Oh, and a call goes out to the bus barn in Kearney Mesa that, “hey, we might get a chance to use our new toy so get it moving!” But wait, there’s only three or four qualified drivers, so the toy can’t move until the drivers come from wherever they happen to be all the way to Kearney Mesa, where they first check the vehicle, then drive it to Pacific Beach, only to meet up with other officers a half hour after the arrived and find the situation resolved. Great, we now have an extremely large, extremely expensive ambulance.
      According to the FBI active shooter situation are resolved in the first 10 minutes of law enforcement arrival, on average. That means when the SDPD units arrived in their regular patrol vehicles, and well before anyone actually got to the new toy in Kearney Mesa, the situation was resolved. That ten minutes is an average, and is significantly scewed by Columbine, where 800 officers arrived with all their gear, and their vehicles, and carefully set up a perimeter before they decided what to do. They even stopped paramedics from going in the buildings while a teacher and students bled to death; although they carefully frisked survivors as they left the building and said it was over. At Sandy Hook, the shooter killed himself within one minute of the first officer’s arrival, and five minutes after the first 911 call.
      School shootings ARE a reality, but they do not “easily” happen here or elsewhere. Despite their tragic nature, they are rare. Even more rare are officer’s hurt in active shooter situations. (Can you think of one off the top of your head?) Most officer deaths are ambushes, which this vehicle does nothing to prevent. While I give thanks regularly for the sacrifices of law enforcement, the fact is their job is safer than many, many, others, and he’s more likely to be hurt in a traffic accident in the line of duty than anything else; while his employer wants you to be afraid, the numbers don’t back up that fear. And for that negligible danger, he is paid three times the amount of a truck driver (40% more likely to be killed at work) and twice the amount of an iron worker (twice as likely to die at work).
      Think it through, relax, and realize that this vehicle was just a silly idea.

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