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Mass shooting highlights use of armored vehicles

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Posted at 6:39 PM, Dec 03, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-03 18:39:35-05

DELRAY BEACH, Fla. -- After widespread criticism, President Obama banned the sale of some kinds of military equipment to local law enforcement agencies; including tracked armored vehicles. The ban could hinder local police responding to mass shootings like the one in San Bernardino.

Delray Beach Police Chief Jeff Goldman has worked in law enforcement for close to 30 years. He says unfortunately we live in a world where armored vehicles and military type equipment are essential to protecting the community.

"We're outgunned. Honestly were outgunned," Goldman explained. "By having this equipment we're able to provide a service that we feel is safe for our people."

Cameras focused on victims as they tried to get to safety but they also captured something else; law enforcement using armored military-style vehicles.

"Unfortunately you gotta call it what it is. It’s combat. It really is combat," Goldman said. "It’s taking the military medium of what happens in the military into the streets of California unfortunately."

A program known as 1033 used to provide equipment such as armored vehicles to U.S. law enforcement agencies. President Obama announced major policy changes in the 1033 Program after riots in Missouri and Baltimore following concerns that use of military gear by police sends the wrong message. But Delray Beach Police Chief Jeff Goldman says Wednesday's events in San Bernardino prove police still need military-style armored vehicles.

"I think they are a necessity," Says Goldman. "Anybody that thinks otherwise needs to come out and see what happens in our communities."

The armored truck the Delray Beach Police Department purchased in 2007 is similar to what some agencies received from the 1033 Program.

"Our officers carry handguns if that's all we had we would definitely be out gunned," explained Goldman.

The Delray Beach Police Department is one of many local agencies with military-style armored vehicles. The West Palm Beach Police Department, Stuart Police Department and St. Lucie County Sheriff's Office each have one. The Martin County Sheriff's Office has two.