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Bloomington Police Department purchasing new field office vehicle this month

Bloomington Police Department is ordering a $245,000 mobile field office vehicle this month.

The purchase, which was approved by Bloomington City Council in October, comes less than a year after BPD introduced a controversial armored vehicle.

“This is a vehicle that the city doesn’t have anything like,” Chief Michael Diekhoff said.

Diekhoff said the 30-foot-long van will mainly be used at large community events, like the Lotus Festival, to keep officers close. At events, the van will be a visible presence of the BPD to the public, Diekhoff said.

The vehicle is under construction. When completed, it will have a conference area as well as individual work spaces with computer and radio hook ups. 

Diekhoff presented the idea to the Bloomington City Council at the budget hearing Aug. 21, 2018, and it was approved in October with the budget. 

This purchase comes on the heels of controversial Lenco BearCat purchase last year. Diekhoff said this vehicle went through the same budget voting process as the BearCat. Both vehicles were paid for with public safety local income tax money.

“It's a completely different vehicle with completely different uses,” he said. 

Vauhxx Booker, of Black Lives Matter Bloomington, opposed the purchase of the BearCat and said he feels that this new vehicle is tone-deaf coming so soon after the BearCat.

Booker said he does not see a need for these vehicles in a city the size of Bloomington. 

“They could have purchased this command vehicle and allowed the BearCat to go through a more public process and that way kept some of the community trust,” he said. 

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