Assembly Bill 481 – Military Equipment Funding, Acquisition and Use Policy
On September 30, 2021, Governor Newsom signed one of many pieces of police reform legislation. AB 481 was prepared by Assembly member David Chiu (D-San Francisco) to address the funding, acquisition and use of military equipment.
AB 481 Definition of Military Equipment
The Assembly Bill has designated the following categories of items as military equipment. The Salinas Police Department has equipment that meets the criteria for 9 of the 15 categories (categories 1, 2, 5, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 and 14):
- Unmanned, remotely piloted, powered aerial or ground vehicles (Equipment Category 1)
- Mine-resistant ambush-protected (MRAP) vehicles or armored personnel carriers (Equipment Category 2)
- High mobility multipurpose wheeled vehicles (HMMWV), two-and-one-half-ton trucks, five-ton trucks, or wheeled vehicles that have a breaching or entry apparatus attached (Equipment Category 3)
- Tracked armored vehicles that provide ballistic protection to their occupants (Equipment Category 4)
- Command and control vehicles that are either built or modified to facilitate the operational control and direction of public safety units (Equipment Category 5)
- Weaponized aircraft, vessels, or vehicles of any kind (Equipment Category 6)
- Battering rams, slugs, and breaching apparatuses that are explosive in nature (Equipment Category 7)
- Firearms of .50 caliber or greater, excluding standard-issue shotguns (Equipment Category 8)
- Ammunition of .50 caliber or greater, excluding standard-issue shotgun ammunition Equipment Category 9)
- Specialized firearms and ammunition of less than .50 caliber, including firearms and accessories identified as assault weapons in Penal Code § 30510 and Penal Code §30515, excluding standard-issue service weapons (Equipment Category 10)
- Any firearm or firearm accessory that is designed to launch explosive projectiles (Equipment Category 11)
- Noise-flash diversionary devices (flashbangs), explosive breaching tools, tear gas, and pepper balls (Equipment Category 12)
- TASER® Shockwave, microwave weapons, water cannons, and long-range acoustic devices (Equipment Category 13)
- Kinetic energy weapons and munitions (Equipment Category 14)
- Any other equipment as determined by a governing body or a state agency to require additional oversight (Equipment Category 15)
The full text of AB 481 is available here.
Requirements of AB 481
AB 481 requires each law enforcement agency’s governing body to initiate the adoption of a written military use policy by ordinance in a public forum by May 1, 2022, in order to continue the use of this previously acquired equipment. To help guide this process, Salinas PD has taken several steps towards establishing a transparent process to achieve this. Documents required by the legislation are available here:
- Salinas PD’s Policy 709 Military Equipment is available to view here. The AB 481 defined list of military equipment currently in SPD’s possession can be found here, as well as each item’s purpose, authorized use, expected lifespan, and fiscal impact
- A Question, Comment, Concern process. Please complete the webform here and we will post applicable submitted content with an answer or response here. Duplicate questions will only be answered once so information is easier to find. Submitted content may be edited for clarity.
- To file a complaint, please click here to be redirected.
- Prepare an Annual Report to include the use of military equipment, any complaints received, any internal audits or other information about violations of SPD Policy 709, the cost of such use and other similar information. This webpage will be utilized for distribution of any updates to the above materials as well as for the Annual Report. The first Annual Report will be distributed approximately one year after the adoption of the Military Equipment Use ordinance.
Public Input Regarding AB 481
Once adopted, publicized annual public meeting will be held to present following information:
- SPD’s military equipment inventory
- SPD’s proposed equipment funding and acquisition
- A Military Equipment use annual report
- Community engagement and public access to materials
Feedback will be incorporated into a Report to Council when presented for annual renewal.