In what world is something like this needed or wanted in a 16,000 population city like Red Wing, or in a rural county like Goodhue County?  What would be the envisioned purpose?

Goodhue County and the City of Red Wing have applied for Homeland Security money to buy one of these, a Lenco Bearcat.  Cost is $332,246.00.  They call the current one the “PeaceKeeper” armored vehicle.  They’re saying it’s too slow, and they’ve been having problems with it.  I saw it cruising toward downtown on West Ave. a few years ago, and was stunned, didn’t know they had one here — I mean really, whatever for?!?!  Meth labs?  Militaristic cults?  The Republican National Convention contractual obligations?  Folks, this isn’t St. Paul…

I’ve heard that the Goodhue County vote recently was that it would not opt in to this grant, but that there is another vote about it.  Red Wing will decide soon.

Goodhue County Commissioners (for your cut and pasting pleasure):  ron.allen@co.goodhue.mn.us, brad.anderson@co.goodhue.mn.us, dan.rechtzigel@co.goodhue.mn.us, jason.majerus@co.goodhue.mn.us, ted.seifert@co.goodhue.mn.us

City of Red Wing Mayor and Council (for your cut and pasting pleasure): dan.bender@ci.red-wing.mn.us, jsebion3@gmail.com , lisa.bayley@ci.red-wing.mn.us, deanhove@charter.net, dan.munson@ci.red-wing.mn.us, peggy.rehder@ci.red-wing.mn.us, ralph.rauterkus@ci.red-wing.mn.us, dustin.schulenberg@ci.red-wing.mn.us

A memo to the County Board from a Sheriff’s Deputy states:

The Emergency Response Team uses an armored vehicle on every mission and at events that may take place at the PINGP.

What does this mean?  How many “missions” and what are the details?  The phrase “at events that may take place at the PINGP” is odd — please explain!  Does this mean response to nuclear emergencies?  Does this mean response to Xcel Energy security concerns?  If this is about the Prairie Island Nuclear Generating Plant, shouldn’t Xcel Energy be paying for it?  They’ll probably say that these expenses are what the Utility Personal Property Tax is for, but I don’t think that’s how it works, it’s a separate issue!

Goodhue County LENCO Bearcat

City of Red Wing – CP_Project_Detail_M-Port_Auth-LencoBearcat

Again, cost is $332,246.00.  For this amount, the County and City could buy roughly 10 fully equipped squad cars (based on this linked Goodhue County purchase of 4). Think of the computer equipment they could buy with that kind of money!

Pages from CP_Project_Detail_M-Port_Auth_Squad Replacement

This is overkill, it is not needed in Red Wing, not needed in Goodhue County.  This is not “policing,” but is militarization of policing.  Not a trend I want in my community.

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