(KTXL) — A new armored vehicle will be added to the Sacramento Police Department’s fleet with a 7-to-2 vote in favor from the Sacramento City Council on Tuesday night.
The ‘Rook’ is a tactile vehicle built by Ring Power based on a Cat Compact Track Loader chassis and features level-4 armor capable of taking up to a .30 caliber armor-piercing rifle round.
Police say it’s an important tool to keep officers and the public safe during extreme situations, but police reform advocates say it’s a danger to the community and further erodes trust in police.
The Sacramento County Sheriff’s Office has owned and operated a Rook for a number of years and in 2019 the police department said they called on the sheriff’s office to provide the Rook about a dozen times.
“We believe the Rook can help us and provide enhanced protection for our officers and the public while helping us safely navigate really high-risk events that the police department is charged with resolving in our community,” Sacramento Police Chief Kathy Lester said during the city council meeting.
However, critics say the cost to the community would be greater than the benefits. It also was not lost on those calling for police reform that tonight’s vote came amid another national conversation about violence in policing.
Some of the same activists who attended Tuesday night’s city council meeting also came together last night for a local memorial to Sacramento native Tyre Nichols, beaten to death by police in Memphis this January.
The city council voted 7-2 to approve the armored vehicle purchase, with council members Van and Valenzuela voting no.
The vehicle will cost about $440,000, mostly covered by federal funding.