PITTSBURG -- The City Council will consider a request Monday from the police department to spend more than $175,000 in asset seizure and grant funds on an armored vehicle to respond to situations that put residents and police in harm's way.
No general funds would be used for the purchase of the vehicle, which would cost $177,452 and could accommodate 12 to 14 officers, according to a staff report that recommends the council approve the request.
The department has never had an armored vehicle. That means police have to borrow one from either the Contra Costa Sheriff's Department or East Bay Regional Parks when needed in situations such as barricaded suspects and serving high-risk warrants. However, availability is not always guaranteed and it takes at least an hour to get the borrowed vehicle to the scene, staff said.
"Obviously, the safety of our citizens and officers is paramount and this type of vehicle is what we would use in situations where seconds count," police Chief Brian Addington said. "You hope you never have to use it, but we know we have from past experience we have.... Having one at our immediate disposal will have the potential to save lives."
The request is not related to an increase in crime, but instead is about having immediate access to such a vehicle when it is needed, he said. For the first five months of 2013, violent, arson and property crimes are down 13 percent compared with the same period last year.
While the SWAT team would use the vehicle, technically it would not be considered a SWAT vehicle because all officers would be trained to use it, Addington said.
The $177,452 cost to purchase the armored vehicle would be paid for with $52,452 in asset seizure funds and $125,000 in law enforcement equipment grant funds, the staff report said.
While Antioch has an armored vehicle, Brentwood and Oakley do not.
"We have no plans at this time to purchase one. We would like to have one, but they are simply too expensive for us to justify at this time," Brentwood police chief Mark Evenson wrote in an email.
Contact Eve Mitchell at 925-779-7189. Follow her on Twitter.com/EastCounty_Girl.
What: City council to consider request by police department to purchase armored vehicle
When: 7 p.m. Monday
Where: City council chambers, City Hall, 65 Civic Ave.