Bergen County Executive, Sheriff Debate Use Of Military Armored Vehicles
HACKENSACK, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — The United States military is giving the Bergen County Sheriff’s Department two of its almost 15 tons of mine-resistant, ambush-protected vehicles, WCBS 880’s Levon Putney reported.
“Thank god we don’t have mines in the streets of any of our towns,” County Executive Kathleen Donovan said. “It’s like acquiring a toy and it’s taxpayer dollars being wasted as far as they’re concerned. Plus it’s the absolute wrong thing to do in Bergen County to try to militarize our county.”
But Sheriff Michael Saudino said the opportunity to get the vehicles came from the military– and they’re free.
But as Putney reported, Donovan said they aren’t free. She said along with paying for the vehicles’ upkeep and gasoline, the county is also responsible for the cost of shipping them from Colorado.
“I think we have lost our way if you start talking about military vehicles on the streets of Bergen County,” Donovan said.
Donovan said the county police’s SWAT teams and bomb squads are already equipped and asked “what in the world” the department would do with the equipment.
“Should our SWAT guys be any less protected than the county guys?” Saudino said.
Saudino pointed out they’re part of a regional SWAT team with a dozen municipalities, Putney reported.
“The county police have two of these vehicles and I don’t knock them,” Sheriff Michael Saudino said. “So are they militarizing the county?”
Saudino said they could have used the vehicles during Hurricane Sandy.
“They don’t call River Road, River Road for nothing. My 3-11 shift at the jail could not get out,” he said.
Saudino also says Donovan knew about the vehicles and actually signed off on them.
“June 4th, she signed off. And I have copies here, with the Board of Freeholders, a resolution to get these vehicles,” Saudinol said.
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