SAN LEANDRO (KCBS)— With the President cracking down on supplying military style weapons to police agencies, local departments are taking a closer look at what’s in their storage lockers. One East Bay department is re-iterating how it will use a controversial armored medical vehicle.

The new federal ban on military style weapons to police stems from their use against demonstrators last year in Ferguson, Missouri. The idea is to not give police more tools that could be used to intimidate civilians.

It was those exact concerns that prompted some to question the joint purchase of a Medevac BearCat or armored ambulance by the San Leandro City Council earlier this year.

Police spokesman Lt. Robert McManus says there are specific parameters under which it will be used.

“Now there’s a lot of concern from the community that we would bring it out to protests like we have seen in other cities across our nation. That is one of the prohibitions in our policy,” he said.

McManus read from that policy and summarized the prohibition as such: “Unless a protest is going to be, or is currently violent, we will not deploy the vehicle for that purpose.”

The BearCat runs on wheels, not tracks, like the kind of armored vehicle no longer being provided by the feds.

Also coming under tighter control are specialized firearms, battering rams and riot helmets and shields.

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