Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Bob Dunning: Should we be worried about the cops’ new toy?


From page A2 | August 22, 2014 |

Just when I think I’ve run out of things to write about, the Davis Police Department reveals it now has in its possession a $689,000 Mine-Resistant Ambush-Protected vehicle to keep Davis residents safe from falling walnuts, flying tomatoes, rabid bats and, presumably, land mines.

Davis, the town that keeps on giving.

The good news, according to the Davis PD, is we obtained this tank-like vehicle for free, save for the $6,000 it cost to ship it from Colorado to Davis.

The bad news is that the PD plucked this vehicle from some sort of Department of Defense excess property program and had it hand-delivered into the very heart of Davis without the knowledge or permission of the Davis City Council.

“Hey, we picked up a spare A-bomb in the ‘FREE, FREE, FREE’ section of the Pentagon classifieds. We’re storing it in that vacant lot out near the cemetery.”

Which is just ducky, except that maybe someone should have asked the City Fathers and Mother for their thoughts before dragging this Incredible Hulk into town.

In other words, the fact we got it for free is irrelevant, although the $689,000 price tag would indeed have been an issue had we been charged full price for this vehicle.

Mayor Dan Wolk says he can’t imagine why Davis needs a tank, declaring “It’s in a city garage and I hope it stays there.”

Wild guess here, but might that city garage be in East Davis?

Another Davis City Councilman, Cool Hand Lucas Frerichs, noted “I was extremely surprised to learn of the recent acquisition of this armored vehicle after its delivery.”

Translation: The council knew absolutely nothing about this mega-monster until it was a done deal.

Further translation: The left hand knows not what the right hand is doing.

One Davis officer, interviewed on local television, bristled when the mayor called the MRAP a “tank,” pointedly noting that “it’s not a tank.”

OK, so it’s a “tank-alike.” I think I can work with that.

While the Davis Police are understandably receiving heavy criticism from a variety of folks, I am not among them.

As a longtime Davis resident, I am well aware of the many dangerous land mines planted all over Yolo County, most of them put there by the highly subversive Bovine sect. Step on one that’s been freshly laid and you will immediately find yourself separated from family and friends.

Which brings me to a kind soul named Sharla, who writes to suggest that “the Davis Police department re-paint the new assault vehicle to look like a cow. It would still function and could be used in the event of a terrorist attack, but is unlikely to be used otherwise for domestic strife.”

Sharla says she forwarded her suggestion to the chief of police, who responded that it was an “interesting” idea.

And then there’s Tom, who grew up in our fine city but had the good sense to move elsewhere.

Writes Tom: “I didn’t know Davis had become as dangerous as Fallujah or Mosul. What exactly are they going to use this thing for?”

Oh Tom, Tom, Tom, Tom, Tom, let me count the ways.

Other than the fact that at 20 tons, the Mine-Resistant Ambush-Protected vehicle is about 18 tons too heavy for the Fifth Street road diet and is likely to take up at least four Zipcar parking spots downtown, the uses are endless.

For instance, when and if the Davis Police Department resumes its practice of arresting snorers at 2 in the morning, the MRAP is guaranteed to be snore-resistant to a level of 100 decibels. Just dump the offender through the “rapid deployment” hatch, seal the lid and the problem is solved.

I’m sure members of the undersized Aggie football team can also find multiple uses for this massive metal monster when they travel to Palo Alto a week from Saturday to take on mighty Stanford.

Most importantly, though, we can bring out our new tank-alike once a year on Picnic Day and turn it into a rolling drunk tank once the Parade Marshall has finished waving at the crowd.

Just peel everyone with a blood alcohol level of 0.08 or higher off our downtown sidewalks, load them through the rapid deployment hatch and let them party on, completely out of sight and mind of the town’s more sober residents.

I say we embrace this $689,000, 20-ton gift to the Davis community and use it for all it’s worth.

Without a doubt, this is clearly the wave of the future.

— Entries to the Contest to Replace the Above-Pictured Columnist are due on Monday, Sept. 8, at 5 p.m. Entries, between 400 and 800 words, can be emailed to and should include a short biography and mug shot of the author.





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