The Tallahassee City Commission met Wednesday and voted 3-2 to authorize the acceptance and expense of proceeds from the U.S. Department of Justice’s 2020 Patrick Leahy Bulletproof Vest Partnership, as well as the authorization to accept equipment and supplies that were donated to the Tallahassee Police Department. Commissioner Jeremy Matlow and Commissioner Jack Porter dissented.
A controversial piece of equipment included on the list is the Rook, which TPD Chief Lawrence Revell described as an “armored bobcat” that could be used in hostage situations as well as natural disasters.
Commissioner Jeremy Matlow expressed concerns over the Rook and how it would affect the public perception of TPD.
“It very much looks like a tank or something that would be utilized by the military,” Matlow said, echoing concerns over the militarization of the police.
The commissioners voted in favor of developing a policy outlining proper situations for use of the Rook.
According to the meeting agenda, the equipment donations and grant awards include:
- Funding for protective vests from the U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) 2020 Patrick Leahy Bulletproof Vest Partnership ($9,824.53).
- Night vision equipment ($52,807) and a Rook vehicle ($331,700) from the Regional Domestic Homeland Security Task Force.
- Laser speed measuring device from Digital Ally, Inc. (est. value- $2,277).
- First aid and Narcan kits from the Florida Department of Health (est. value – $44,750).
- Scent collection kits, training, and consultation from Scent Evidence K9, LLC. (est. value – $26,250).
- Miscellaneous personal protective items from Home Depot (est. value – $805), the Florida Department of Emergency Management (est. value – $3,500), and Pernod Ricard, USA (est. value – $2,100).
The fiscal impact of this agenda item adds up to a total estimated value of $474,013.53, while maintenance for the equipment will be supported by existing operational funds.