Crowd gathered in lobby of City Hall waiting for City Commission meeting to start. "Additional seating" signs are hanging up for overflow seating
Doors have opened up and people are taking seats in the city commission room. Ten minutes until the meeting starts
In other news, Taco, the Bozeman Police Department K-9, is retiring.
General public comment period getting started
Bob Chase first up. He's speaking to incidents of intimidation he said he's experienced at city hall, other places from city employees
"This city manager thing doesn't work," Chase said. Manager should be elected.
Another speaker on BearCat: “If it saves one life or even saves one person from being severely injured in the next 20 years it is worth it.”
Woman opposed to BearCat: "What bothers me most about the BearCat
is the non-transparency of the process."
Bertie Bowie: “These are instruments of fear and fear is the mind killer.”
One man: "We elected you and you represent me, and this is a clear example of asking for forgiveness when permission should have been sought.”
MSU Police Chief Robert Putzke spoke supporting BearCat
HD 66 GOP candidate Ed Johnson recommends returning the BearCat. "A tool such as the BearCat really has no place in the Bozeman community because of its unnecessary amount of force that would deal with community members under duress.”
"I urge you to remove this vehicle from our community and take steps against City Manager Chris Kukulski for bringing this into our community," said one woman against the BearCat
"I feel that the BearCat is the taking away of my rights and I'm opposed to it," says another woman.
Two police officers' wives have spoken in favor of keeping the
Jerry Pape: "We’re in a mess that embarrasses all of us, because you’re an extension of us.”
Dane Peeples calls for City Manager Chris Kukulski's resignation, met by claps and verbal agreement by crowd. “He should be stepping down. Period. This is unacceptable.”
General public comment period is over. A few quick items and now the item on the BearCat is up.
City Manager Kukulski speaking. Has worked for city for 10 years and has tried to earn trust during that time.
"I let you down in this capacity. It was not deliberate.”
Police Chief Ron Price now talking about the need for the BearCat.
Price is going over history of application, acquisition and use of BearCat.
Price: "It was my belief that we had put it on a consent agenda in October...I made an assumption that was incorrect.”
Price: “This is not an offensive weapon. It has an offensive look, I realize that.”
Price: BearCat is
prohibited from being used for crowd control.
Commissioners and mayor now asking questions of police chief and city manager
Kukulski: BearCat wasn't on Capital Improvements Plan because it was not being funded by local dollars.
No more questions for staff members. Mayor Krauss calls a 15-minute recess.
Meeting back in session. Public comment on BearCat is up next.
County Attorney Marty Lambert now speaking. Passed out photos of standoff in 2011.
One citizen asked about cost of maintenance. How much does it cost to fill up? What if something needs replaced?
Representatives of Bozeman Police Protective Association and Bozeman Firefighters Union speak on behalf of keeping the BearCat
Sheriff Brian Gootkin now speaking
Gootkin: "It’s a vehicle. What we do is we deal with people. We work with people. Our business is people, it’s safety, it’s the safety of the community.”
William Wolf: “I am militia. We are here to defend America and the people of America”
Bozeman police and fire employees speaking out in favor of the BearCat, says it provides protection they need.
Deputy Mayor Taylor makes motion to ratify the city manager's signature of paperwork for BearCat with some requirements
Requirements: 1. next year the matter comes before commission for report from chief on how it’s been used, costs for maintaining, etc. 2. it not be reequipped without approval by city commission 3. changes in protocol or breaches be told to commissioners as soon as they happen.
Deputy Mayor Taylor: The Lenco BearCat promotional video “scared the living daylights out of me.”
Taylor: “I believe this tool will be used properly"
Taylor: “I see no reason at this point to send it back.”
Meeting extended until 11 p.m.
“Bozeman is not the community it was 20 or 30 years ago.”
Mehl: While crime has decreased here, active shooter incidents have increased across the U.S.
Mehl says he leans towards keeping the BearCat
Mehl: Peace officers also have to be crime fighters. We can’t forget we ask them to have that dual role
Commissioner Andrus: 2 issues --
procedure and what to do with the vehicle
Andrus: One mistake was inclusion of environmental groups in grant application. “Making sweeping statement like that is just plain wrong and I apologize for that.”
Andrus: On Ferguson - "That is not the culture of this community and it certainly is not the culture of the Bozeman police department. Bozeman is not Ferguson,
although it’s not Mayberry either.”
Andrus: You can rest assured that the people you elect will not tolerate the misuse of this vehicle.
Commissioner Pomeroy: At first thought didn't need BearCat but after hearing public comment from officers' wives and others, she has
changed her mind.
Pomeroy: I am very sorry I changed my mind. I am not going to return this vehicle.
“My vote tonight does not mean that I don’t support the Rouse Justice Center.”
Krauss: Please disconnect the BearCat and
Rouse Justice Center issues
Krauss: Language about militia, environmental groups, outlaw motorcycle gangs etc. in grant application is language of escalation.
Krauss: My responsibility is to transparent government
Motion to ratify city manager's signature on documents for BearCat acquisition passes 4-1 with Mayor Krauss casting only "no" vote.