Riot Toyz R Us: Part 1
Let’s go shopping!
On March 10 the Denver City Council authorized spending $5 million on “capital equipment” – namely some badass police apparati designed to head off trouble during the August Democratic National Convention. But that’s just a drop in the bucket for the $50 million in total federal tax dollars that will enable the city to stockpile enough gadgets, ammo and the latest in riot toyz to pole-vault any law enforcement professional into hog heaven.
Here are the rules: Any single equipment over $50,000 must be specially approved by the Denver City Council. As for any other surprise goodies that Denver and Secret Service are ordering in preparation for rude and wayward demonstrators and the like? They’re not saying. So beginning today, we launch (get it?) a several-day series exploring the array of possibilities.
Specifically, what we’ve got so far is approval for a “heavy rescue vehicle,” a “hazardous materials response vehicle,” an “urban search and rescue unit,” and a “unified incident command vehicle.”
Here’s what they are talking about:
A heavy rescue vehicle is a giant toolbox on wheels. Typically used for carting firefighting and EMS equipment for specialized purposes (e.g. vehicle extrications, bridge collapses, etc.). The apparatus has high-angle, trench-rescue and confined-space capabilities.
Almost indistinguishable (from the outside, at least) from Heavy Rescue Vehicles, Urban Search and Rescue vehicles are filled with the goodies needed to find and get people out of collapsed buildings and the like. Can take any number of forms from scary tank-like vehicles to relatively benign fire-truck-looking things.
A cross between a fire truck and a mobile home. Unified Incident Command Vehicles are loaded with everything a law enforcer needs to manage a “situation.”
Tomorrow: Check out the dizzying array of $3.4 million worth of allotments designed to buy a SWAT vehicle, “communication equipment,” an “Interagency communication system” and an “Amplification system.”
We extend huge thanks for assistance with this package to a Colorado researcher and writer who does not plan to participate in the August convention but nonetheless prefers to remain unnamed for fear of retribution.