The La Mesa City Council voted 5-0 Tuesday to approve the use of a federal grant to buy a bulletproof armored rescue vehicle, which can be used to protect passengers from assault weapons.
The BearCat, as it’s known, will be purchased for about $300,000 from the Urban Area Security Initiative grant. The city of La Mesa will pay in advance for the vehicle, which will take 5-6 months to be built, and be reimbursed when the grant money comes through.
Police Chief Ed Aceves said the BearCat will be a shared asset with El Cajon and other East County communities.
It can hold up to 10 passengers, navigate a variety of terrains and protect from ballistic gunfire of up to 50- caliber weapons.
The council approved a memorandum of understanding with the El Cajon Police Department, detailing the shared-use terms.
“I would not be standing up here if I felt it was frivolous,” Aceves told the council. “We do recognize it is a big purchase, but this is a family-friendly suburban town, and we want to keep it that way. It goes more to improve our image as a city that wants to take care of its residents and officers.”
In other action:
The council voted unanimously to hire AECOM to prepare an environmental impact report (EIR) relating to the city’s 2012 General Plan update. The contract would be up to $150,000. The EIR process is expected to take 12-15 months, with a draft being prepared by December 2012.
In a contentious issue that carried over from the , the council voted 3-2 on a motion approving the installation of two timed turn restriction signs at High Street and Sacramento Drive.
The signs would restrict drivers from using the residential road as a shortcut between certain hours of the day.
Irate neighbors have complained to the council that Sacramento Drive has become a high-speed thoroughfare for students and parents going to and from Helix Charter High School, and warned of high speeds, exorbitant traffic and litter, among other concerns.
The signs will be installed, and the council said it would readdress the issue after six months to determine if appropriate speed and traffic abatement has taken place, or if further measures will be needed.
Mayor Art Madrid and Councilwoman Ruth Sterling cast the two “no” votes.
The council also voted 5-0 on a motion to table a resolution, recommended by the Parking Commission, to spend a portion of the Downtown Parking Funds (not to exceed $32,000) on twice-weekly street sweeping and quarterly power washing of the Village, as part of the Centennial celebration.