Tallahassee Police set to receive new tactical armored vehicle, protestors concerned about militarization of police

The Tallahassee Police Department is set to receive a new tactical and armored vehicle as early as the spring of next year.
Published: Dec. 9, 2020 at 7:13 PM EST
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - The Tallahassee Police Department is set to receive a new tactical and armored vehicle.

The vehicle, nicknamed “The Rook,” is drawing concerns about what critics call the “militarization of police”.

Protestors with the Tallahassee Community Action Committee say they believe the vehicle will be used to deter people from protesting.

However, TPD Chief Lawrence Revell says it will be used to help save lives.

“I think it’s not just a response to September 5th, I think it’s a response to everything that has happened building up to these protests,” said Delilah Pierre, the vice president of Tallahassee Community Action Committee.

“It can be used in natural disasters, it can help clear roads and trees and cars and things like that,” said Revell.

Revell tells WCTV “The Rook” will also be used to help in high-risk situations.

“Say Ft. Lauderdale, let’s say the Pulse nightclub, let’s say Las Vegas, let’s say any of these places where we have the potential for mass casualties,” said Dr. Lee Bushong, professor of Criminal Justice at FAMU.

Bushong says he understands how useful the vehicle could be, but recognizes why citizens and protestors think it might cause more harm than good.

“It has to be used very judicially with temperance and strategy and I also think that it would become very important for law enforcement to educate the community on it,” said Bushong.

“We want to make sure that we are there to protect and to serve our community and this is just another piece of equipment which allows us to that more effectively in critical situations,” said Revell.

Protestors who say the vehicle helps militarize the police said they want the funds used toward more investment in our community.

“We need to start reallocating that money, we need to start putting that money where it really needs to benefit and that’s in these poverty impacted communities,” said Trish Brown with TCAC.

TPD says they did not seek to purchase “The Rook” and that it was recommended by Homeland Security.

The funds for “The Rook” come from the state.

Revell says the vehicle is scheduled to come to Tallahassee in February or March of 2021.

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