Blogging Bayport Alameda

March 16, 2021

Safe and sound

Filed under: Alameda — Lauren Do @ 6:06 am

So tonight, City Council, the tank is back on the agenda after not being heard at the last meeting. There are only two regular agenda items on the City Council, but a bunch of consent items, so I’m hopeful they’ll finish these off tonight.

Even though the City Council voted to sell the tank, I mean, “Emergency Response Vehicle” in the summer of 2020, it hasn’t been done and the police department would like the City Council to reconsider this decision. There is a notable change in the make up of the City Council and with time there becomes less of an urgency so do things that seemed important at the moment and we might see some changes City Council votes tonight based on an interview Mayor Marilyn Ezzy Ashcraft gave to the students at KJTZ last Thursday.

Just so we’re clear this is our “emergency vehicle”

I went down a rabbit hole of “police emergency response vehicles” on Google images and they really run the gamut:

Are you feeling safer yet?

Also on the agenda is a report about the work of the police reform and racial equity subcommittees. I have to say I’m a little bit surprised that there aren’t more letters to the City Council but maybe folks are saving it for public comment.


  1. Do I feel safer that APD can respond effectively to a mass shooting or other catastrophic event?
    Yes I do.

    And you know who feels even safer?
    The police who would be doing the responding.

    Comment by Think of it as a bulletproof vest on wheels — March 16, 2021 @ 7:57 am

    • Then why stop at a tank? Let’s get those guys some bazookas, you know, just in case! And tactical nukes if we need to keep those Oakland people from taking over our sweet little Mayberry. Let’s completely militarize our police force, and make sure they’re out and visible with machine gun nests and razor wire checkpoints throughout town and at the bridges and tube entrances. And let’s just get rid of the whole “everyone belongs here” hippie nonsense and replace it with “fuck around and find out.” Make Alameda Great Again!

      Comment by Rod — March 16, 2021 @ 10:22 am

  2. I am conflicted on the tank. For one thing, it gets used very rarely. If APD were trotting it out every time there’s a protest or some kind of civil unrest, then I can see why that’s a problem with bad optics. But that’s never been the case. In fact, it gets used less than once a year in Alameda for what looks like extreme life-or-death situations. It’s clearly a case of Symbol vs Practical, with those calling for its disposal seeing it as a symbol of the militarization of the police and APD seeing practical use for it given the few gun-related incidents we’ve had in town the past year, including two shootings on Park Street, two shootings around Washington Park area, and a drive-by near Santoro’s Deli. I can be persuaded to go either way on this, because I see the merits of both sides. Maybe a good compromise is to paint it white and slap a “Rescue” lettering on it, because the military green evokes the wrong imagery. Or maybe pay OPD storage fee to park the vehicle off island, and APD can use it as necessary. Everybody wins in either scenario.

    Comment by Frank the Tank — March 16, 2021 @ 10:32 am

    • But it doesn’t appear that it was used for many of the gun related incidents listed above. So if they’re not using for those gun related incidents and can largely get by without it, what is the utility in retaining it?

      Comment by Lauren Do — March 16, 2021 @ 10:43 am

      • The above incidents were quick bang flash — over in seconds. The ERV is for a longer duration incident, something like a workplace shooting or the nutcase who barricades himself in a home, which shows up surprisingly/depressingly often in the news.

        Comment by Use your head — March 16, 2021 @ 10:53 am

        • So why can’t we just borrow one when we need it if it’s not for immediate deployment and is for a “longer duration incident”?

          Comment by Lauren Do — March 16, 2021 @ 11:09 am

        • Because getting here from Oakland would take a minimum of half an hour, and Oakland (or other local PD) could already be using it.

          Comment by Do you really need this explained?? — March 16, 2021 @ 12:04 pm

        • It’s 20 minutes from Oakland. Oakland, San Leandro, and Berkeley borrow our tank all the time. Are their emergencies less of an emergency than ours that they can wait the 20 – 30 minutes to borrow our tank but we can’t?

          Comment by Lauren Do — March 16, 2021 @ 12:32 pm

        • Add in time for approval & deployment and you get 30 minutes, easy. In rush hour traffic, who knows how long? It is flat out irresponsible to get rid of a valuable safety asset.

          And per the agenda, it’s not a tank:

          The Emergency Response Vehicle has been referred to by City Council and citizens as a “tank”. Unlike a tank, a heavily armored fighting vehicle, the Emergency Response Vehicle is a defensive vehicle used to protect and transport citizens, fire personnel, and officers from potentially armed and violent suspects. It is not equipped with a weapon-mounted system and is otherwise not designed for situations where offensive action is required.

          Comment by Oy vey, this is tedious — March 16, 2021 @ 12:49 pm

        • You say potayto, I say potahto. You say ERV, I say tank.

          I imagine an armored SUV would probably also suffice to “protect and transport citizens” if we’re worried about a shoot out but I guess nothing less than a vehicle you could find in a war zone will suffice.

          Comment by Lauren Do — March 16, 2021 @ 2:31 pm

        • That’s exactly what it is, an armored SUV. Would painting rainbows on it sufficiently calm your angst over a protective device for police at risk?

          Comment by This debate is absurd — March 16, 2021 @ 3:17 pm

  3. Seems ERV is a misnomer since Googling it brings up images of fire trucks and ambulances. Rename it, repaint it and take off the S.W.A.T. (“In the United States, a SWAT team is generic term for a law enforcement unit that uses specialized or military equipment and tactics.”…stands for Special Weapons and Tactics) ~ if this is really about responding to emergencies like a school shooting or barricaded in unstable individual. And by the way, how much does it cost to train APD in using this ERV and specialized weapons/tactics? Seems better served to train them in de-escalation and mental health approaches.

    Comment by Let's be tactical and not 'Tacticool' — March 16, 2021 @ 1:15 pm

  4. Maybe we should repaint it with lovely flowers and birds and stuff. Not being sarcastic.

    Comment by Sleepy Moe — March 16, 2021 @ 5:10 pm

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