“Look out! The 7th Graders have mined the kickball field!”

300px-FPCougarsubmitted by Gene Howington

In what can only be categorized as one of the dumbest ideas ever, school police in San Diego have acquired their very own MRAP vehicle.  That’s Mine Resistant Ambush Protected for all you civilians out there. Captain Joe Florentino told the local press “I can totally see people thinking ‘Oh, my God. Are they going to be rolling armoured vehicles into our schools and what the hell’s going on?'”  Ya reckon?  Capt. Florentino was later given the Meritorious Service Award for Mastery of the Obvious. The MRAP was “free” – just like all the military gear recently on display against the citizens of Ferguson, MO – but the maintenance, modifications and upkeep are not.  A wise choice for a school district with budgetary problems and 10 patrol cars in disrepair. Read the full story at The Guardian.

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20 Responses to “Look out! The 7th Graders have mined the kickball field!”

  1. bigfatmike says:

    Anybody have a comparison of operational and maintenance cost between this vehicle and, say, a Crown Vic, or a Taurus, or a Charger?

    These guys are going to look pretty silly siting in the garage listening to the TAC radio instead of patrolling school property.

  2. blouise says:

    High maintenance, huge fuel bill, roads and bridges not strong enough to handle the weight, tendency to roll, require trained drivers, must provide proper security so vehicle isn’t used by bad guys … the list goes on and on

  3. Slartibartfast says:

    Maybe they could sell it to the Mythbusters for some much needed funds. I’m sure they’d find a good use for it…

  4. pete says:

    The kids brought this on themselves. The seventh grade shouldn’t have elected Jimmy Hamas as class president.

  5. bettykath says:

    At the link you’ll find an interactive map. It shows the military equipment by county. Each orange county received something. The white counties have received nothing, yet. So we know which counties have tamed their 7th graders and which one have 7th graders running wild.

    http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2014/08/15/us/surplus-military-equipment-map.html?_r=0

  6. Elaine M. says:

    What could go wrong?????

    School police? This is the first that I’ve ever heard of such a thing. Do they have school police in most places? Inquiring minds want to know!

  7. Bob Kauten says:

    bettykath,
    But be careful with that interactive map. Many counties include one or more military bases. Military bases take large shipments of nasty weapons.
    I got into a fracas about the poor Brevard County, FL Sheriff’s Dept. They seem to be nice folks.
    Brevard County law enforcement was accused of taking delivery of 9 Apache helicopter gunships. They are many millions of dollars, each. A few people from Brevard County said that their county doesn’t have that kind of money.
    I wrote to the Brevard County Sheriff, asked him if he knew that he had 9 Apache gunships. I told him if he didn’t know about it, he should take inventory.
    He wrote back, at 2 AM, his time, telling me that those Apaches went to Patrick Air Force Base, which resides in Brevard County.
    The interactive map shows that Brevard County was given 79 helicopters. The Sheriff’s office has 3, non-military type, helicopters, and a total aviation budget of half-a-million per year.
    So be a little careful with this map. If there’s no military base in a highly-weaponized county, that’s a cause for further concern.
    Jes’ sayin’. I agree that police departments are way over-militarized.
    The Pentagon gives away huge quantities of military equipment, so that war profiteers can make more.

  8. Elaine,

    It is sadly enough an ever increasing trend. Schools are becoming more like prisons every day. All in the name of “safety”. When I was a kid, the only time the police ever showed up to one of my many schools it was because they were called after a student pulled a knife on another student (on school grounds true, albeit technically after hours).

  9. bettykath says:

    Bob, thanks for the caution. I didn’t expect that gear for a military base would show up as going to the civilian police force. I still think the map is useful, but with the caveat.

    Doesn’t mean that the base stuff would never be used against civilians, but it would be used by the military instead of the cops.

  10. James Knauer says:

    The only time I ever saw police in school was during assemblies on public safety. There were invited guests.

  11. Bob Kauten says:

    bettykath,
    Yes, I wonder why even Patrick Air Force Base needs 9 Apaches. Expecting an invasion from Cuba, perhaps? That’ll happen.
    The manner in which Apaches are decked out, they don’t seem suitable for crowd control, or rescue missions. They’re designed to destroy anything that’s in front of them. Seeing a photo of an Apache facing the camera induces the feeling, “OK, my life is over.”
    I’d guess that three Apaches could level a small town, but I’m not an arms expert.
    I’m a little late in cautioning about the interactive map. Nutcase blogs picked up the ersatz Apache/Brevard story, and broadcast it. That’s why I contacted the Sheriff’s office – to warn them to brace for impact.

  12. Elaine M. says:

    Gene,

    Maybe the police have plans for a hostile takeover of public schools. Gotta squash the teacher unions…and then plunder teacher pension funds.

  13. Elaine,

    And enforce a strictly approved curriculum that isn’t critical of government or big business in any way or might encourage critical thinking skills. I don’t know whether to laugh or cry, but the dogs barking in my head are goosestepping just a lil’ bit.

  14. Elaine M. says:

    California School Cops Received Military Rifles, Grenade Launchers, Armored Vehicles
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/09/12/militarized-police-california_n_5813014.html

    Excerpt:
    School police in several California public school districts are ready for anything — including, apparently, a small invasion.

    The open news website MuckRock found through a recent Freedom of Information Act request that not only are California state and local police departments receiving military-grade equipment from the Department of Defense, but several school police departments are as well.

    According to the inventory published by MuckRock, six California school district police departments received equipment from the Department of Defense Excess Property Program, also known as the 1033 Program. The details:

    – Baldwin Park School Police Department: 3 M16 assault rifles

    – Kern High School District Police: 30 magazine pouches for M4 assault rifle ammunition

    – Los Angeles School Police Department: 61 M16 assault rifles, 3 M79 grenade launchers, 1 mine-resistant vehicle

    – Oakland Unified School Police: utility truck

    – San Diego Unified Schools Police: 1 mine-resistant vehicle

  15. Tony C. says:

    Elaine: That is beyond appalling, and truly frikkin’ insane.

  16. James Knauer says:

    Elaine, it appears the country has lost its ever-loving mind. Not only does this place students in danger, it remains utterly antithetical to the whole notion of “school.” It is the pernicious transformation of school into military academies.

    Our broken Congress so desperately needs to act it hurts. Pick an issue.

  17. Elaine M. says:

    SD Unified to return armored vehicle
    Military appearance of the federal surplus vehicle created uneasiness
    9/18/14
    http://m.utsandiego.com/news/2014/sep/18/san-diego-unified-to-return-armored-vehicle/

    Excerpt:
    SAN DIEGO — The San Diego Unified School District has decided to return a military-grade armored vehicle donated by the Department of Defense that was intended to be used by city schools police for emergencies such as campus shootings.

    Superintendent Cindy Marten announced the decision in a statement Thursday night.

    “Some members of our community are not comfortable with the district having this vehicle,” Marten said. “If any part of our community is not comfortable with it, we cannot be comfortable with it.”

    The decision to return the vehicle, valued at more than $700,000, was praised by school board trustee Scott Barnett, who last week announced his opposition to the idea.

  18. Elaine M. says:

    Police Want to Get Rid of Their Pentagon-Issued Combat Gear. Here’s Why They Can’t.
    After Ferguson, many towns are trying to return military gear supplied by the Defense Department—and finding it impossible.
    —By Molly Redden | Tue Sep. 30, 2014
    http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/09/police-departments-struggle-return-pentagon-military-surplus-gear

    Excerpt:
    Even before police militarization made the news, hundreds of police departments were finding that grenade launchers, military firearms, and armored vehicles aren’t very useful to community policing. When Chelan County police officers requested one armored car in 2000—the request that landed them three tanks—they pictured a vehicle that could withstand bullets, not land mines. Law enforcement agencies across the country have quietly returned more than 6,000 unwanted or unusable items to the Pentagon in the last 10 years, according to Defense Department data provided to Mother Jones by a spokeswoman for Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), who has spearheaded a Senate investigation of the Pentagon program that is arming local police. Thousands more unwanted items have been transferred to other police departments.

    But some agencies have found the process of getting rid of unwanted military gear next to impossible. Agencies can’t return or trade equipment without Defense Department approval, and because the Pentagon technically still owns the equipment, they can’t sell it.

    According to interviews with state officials running point between the Pentagon and police, the Defense Department prefers to leave equipment in circulation whenever possible. “It’s a low-cost storage method for them,” says Robb Davis, the mayor pro tem of Davis. His town is trying to shake its MRAP. “They’re dumping these vehicles on us and saying, ‘Hey, these are still ours, but you have to maintain them for us.'”

  19. Back about ten or twelve years ago, a former sheriff of our county had been given a helicopter. It was actually an old Vietnam era machine. I looked it over in the hangar and it was obvious that it needed a major overhaul in order to be airworthy. After the next sheriff came into office, he told me he learned his predecessor had sold it to somebody. The Feds were not happy. That sale of an obsolete and ragged out helicopter caused all kinds of problems, because it made the department ineligible for Federal assistance.

    The new sheriff was a former Federal law enforcement agent, and had a lot of connections. He had to pull in all kinds of IOUs to get the mess straightened out so they could receive funds and grants. The only major equipment he finally accepted from the DoD was a couple of Humvees. Those are actually useful here in the mountains. He probably could have gotten a helicopter or two, and we could have used them. However, helicopters are horrendously expensive to maintain and operate; far more so than fixed wing aircraft. I told him that if he managed to get an STOL (slow take-off & landing) fixed wing plane for search and rescue, I would volunteer to fly it for him.

    Wonder what would happen if the departments with the white elephant equipment started sending the DoD invoices for storage fees.

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