YOLO (CBS13) — The debate over a military-style vehicle for the Yolo County Sheriff’s Department has ended, for now.
On Monday, the department released a statement saying its “decided against accepting the free surplus MRAP vehicle.”
“It’s democracy in action,” said Norma Alcala, a West Sacramento resident opposed to the department’s use of the vehicle. “It’s a trust issue.”
Nearly 60 others with similar opinions expressed their concerns at a recent Yolo County Board of Supervisors meeting, saying the mine-resistant ambush protected military vehicle sends the wrong message and could potentially be used for unintended purposes like crowd control.
“When you bring a military vehicle like that, you are going to have many people who are very concerned about what’s happening with their police force and accountability,” said Alcala.
Alcala also questioned the need.
Both West Sacramento and Woodland Police Departments already have the heavy duty military vehicles. They’re used for tactical situations like a standoff, an active shooter, or a bomb threat.
The most recent use came on Jan. 31 when the West Sacramento Police Department deployed its MRAP while investigating a potential bomb threat in front of the Tower Bridge.
“Our position always, 24/7 , every day is to protect the community,” said Prieto during a February Board of Supervisors meeting.
Supervisor Oscar Villegas supported Prieto’s move for an MRAP.
“He knows his business pretty well and so I think he made a very compelling case as to why at that moment he felt he needed it,” said Villegas.
But on Monday, Prieto and the sheriff’s department ended the debate, declining the vehicle. “Community confidence and trust are more important than the acquisition of an MRAP vehicle,” a statement read.
“There is no need for this kind of militarization of the police force,” said Schyler Rhodes, a local pastor opposed to the vehicle, “crime is going down, not up.”
It’s a move that opponents like Rhodes are applauding.
“I’m very grateful for the decision they’ve made,” said Rhodes.