NORMAN, Okla. - Thursday night’s financial committee meeting in Norman was full of heated residents.
About 50 people were there to speak for and against the proposed purchase of an armored vehicle for the police department.
The most voiced concern was the BearCat looks too militarized.
"The shape of it. The form of it. That it has gun ports. That it has a battering ram. That it has capability to deliver gas," said Mark Campbell.
"When you wheel that thing out, it's not impressive. It's not like a fire truck. I think, it's meant to scare you. It's meant to deter," said Paul Morgan.
The Norman Police Department said its purpose is not for intimidation.
The chief said it is not a military vehicle, instead a life-saving machine.
The SWAT commander is reminding people of the hostage situation at the Next Step building two years ago.
"Reflect back on those striking images of officers trying to put themselves between the people that we were evacuating," said Captain Lance Arnold with the Norman Police Department.
"If we had this vehicle, it could have provided cover to these people as they were being saved by the officers and the SWAT team," said Amanda Garnand.
Garnand’s husband was there that day.
She said she is disappointed in those opposing the BearCat.
"Their safety is number one to me so that he can come home to her and to this little girl," Garnand said, as she pointed to her stomach.
It would cost nearly $280,000 to buy the armored vehicle.
Some residents feel police should use the money instead on a drug court, officer raises or even bullet proofing their existing vehicles.
The financial committee decided the next step will be to hold a public education forum.
We will let you know when that is scheduled.