A Monterey Peninsula city just got a massive, armored military vehicle. Del Rey Oaks City Council will discuss the topic at its meeting Tuesday night.
The mayor said the public should have been told the vehicle was coming before it rolled into Del Rey Oaks several weeks ago. He said the city has no business owning it.
Other leaders said the regional rescue vehicle is an asset that would also benefit surrounding cities.
The MRAP, or Mine Resistant Ambush Protected, could soon be hitting the streets of Del Rey Oaks and across the region.
"The police department and associate individuals have reworked it to the point where it would be used as a regional rescue vehicle in case of a hostage situation or Columbine-like situation," said Jerry Edelen, mayor of Del Rey Oaks.
The city acquired the vehicle from the federal government through a grant. The city said it would be used during search and rescues, natural disasters and active shooter situations.
This week is the first time it is being talked about publicly. Edelen said that's a problem.
"After the vehicle was acquired, after it's been stenciled, after everything is ready to go, we're saying, 'Hey, take it or don't take it,' so it puts the council in sort of an almost peripheral position of what's going on," he said.
But council member Jeff Cecilio told News Channel 5 the topic did not need to go before the public since it was free and isn't a budget item. He said the MRAP is a cost-free asset that would benefit the entire area.
Edelen claims after five years, the city will have to pay for expenses like police training, maintenance and insurance.
"It probably would be best served in a larger police department, one that has large gang problems or higher propensity for violence. Del Rey Oaks is the safest community on the Peninsula," he said.
Police Chief Ron Langford declined to comment until after his presentation at the council meeting.
The city is discussing the military vehicle further. It's unclear whether council will vote on the topic.
City manager Dan Dawson released the following statement:
“I am proud of the proactive efforts of my police chief and department in bringing this valuable resource to the peninsula at no cost to our city or to any other city in the region. A small cash strapped city such as our was able to receive the vehicle from the federal government for free and an anonymous reserve officer paid to have the vehicle outfitted for rescue operations and we have received high praise from the chiefs of surrounding cities in making this invaluable resource available to them.”