Do Los Angeles school police need grenade launchers?
September 17, 2014
Los Angeles Unified School District police are sitting on a cache of military equipment that includes a tank and grenade launchers. [CBS LA]
Like police departments across the country, the Los Angeles school police received their combat equipment from the U.S. military via federal grants. The police department obtained the grenade launchers shortly after 9/11, but LAUSD Police Chief Steve Zipperman is now saying that the department will dispose of them.
“It’s a piece of equipment that is not essential for our mission, so we will be disposing of those,” Zimmerman said.
But, Zimmerman said he plans to keep the armored vehicle.
His department acquired the 20-foot-long, 14-ton transport vehicle in July. The tank has a value of $733,000 and is designed like the vehicles used to move marines through combat zones in Iraq.
Zimmerman said it is a life-saving vehicle and is the department’s best option for policy-type rescues.
“To suggest that it’s a threatening type of equipment for a show of force, that is not the case,” Zimmerman said.
Last month, the Davis City Council directed its police department to get rid of its $700,000 armored vehicle. Backlash against police militarization erupted in Davis after residents saw law enforcement used heavily armored vehicles and other military gear to confront protesters in Ferguson, Missouri.