By Betty Yu

SAN LEANDRO (KPIX 5) – Amid an ongoing debate over the militarization of local police departments, the San Leandro City Council said they would move forward with plans to purchase an armored rescue vehicle.

In a 6-1 vote, the council approved the purchase of the Bearcat Medevac. The vehicle will be paid mostly thorough a $200,000 Homeland Security grant.

READ MORE: Volunteers Spread Out Across Bay Area for Annual Coastal Cleanup

Before Monday’s meeting, protesters chanted “Thanks, but no tanks.” Critics said the vehicle is not necessary for the community and that it would escalate situations. First responders at the meeting said it would save lives.

READ MORE: San Francisco Celebrates Rise of Lowrider Community With Car Show and Cruise

“This is not the San Leandro I thought I lived in, and I’m a senior citizen,” resident Anita Wills said at the meeting. “I want to be safe, I don’t have a problem with the police keeping us safe. But I do have a problem with the militarization.”

Lt. Robert McManus of the San Leandro Police said, “I do see people calling it intimidating, and to an extent it can be. And we would much rather come in a vehicle like that and have someone surrender without anybody getting injured, than have to use some sort of other tactics where injury may occur.”

MORE NEWS: San Francisco Schools, Public Health Dept. Partner to Provide Campus COVID Vaccinations

The vehicle is expected to arrive over the next year and would be shared with other agencies in the region.