Campus Reform - The University of California - Berkeley Police Department has acquired a $200,000 grant from the Department of Homeland Security to purchase an "Armored Response Counter Attack Truck."
The eight-ton vehicle, commonly referred to as a "Bearcat," is used by U.S. troops on the battlefield and is often equipped with a rotating roof hatch, powered turrets, gun ports, a battering ram, and a weapon system used to remotely engage a target with lethal force.
Lt. Eric Tejada, a spokesman for UCPD, said the university plans to use the vehicle along with neighboring counties in dangerous situations that could involved heavy weapons.
Tejada said that although he does know of any incident in the university's 144-year history in which such a vehicle would have saved a life, the police department would have have liked to deploy it in an incident last year when they mistakenly believed a man had an AK-47 assault rifle.
University of Virginia Professor Dewey Cornell, an expert in violence prevention and school safety, told Campus Reform on Friday that with approximately 4800 four-year colleges in the U.S., and an average of 10 homicides per year on college campuses, the average college can expect a homicide about once every 480 years.
A June 19 log of a Berkeley City Council meeting, however, suggest that that UCPD also intends to use the vehicle for "large incidents" including university sporting events and an annual street festival called the Solana Stroll.