On September 30, 2021, Governor Newsom signed Assembly Bill 481 (“AB 481”), which became effective on January 1, 2022. AB 481 stated goals are to provide legally enforceable safeguards to protect the public’s welfare, safety, civil rights, and civil liberties before military equipment is funded, acquired, or used.
AB 481 was codified into law under California Government Code sections 7070 to 7075. Section 7071 requires each law enforcement agency to obtain approval of the applicable governing body, by the adoption of a military equipment use policy, by ordinance at a regular meeting held pursuant to specified open meeting laws, prior to taking certain actions relating to the funding, acquisition, use, or collaboration with another agency in the use, of military equipment. The section requires similar approval for the continued use of military equipment acquired before January 1, 2022, with May 1, 2022 as the deadline for an agency to begin a governing body approval process.
Section 7070 defines military equipment as:
(1) Unmanned, remotely piloted, powered aerial or ground vehicles.
(2) Mine-resistant ambush-protected (MRAP) vehicles or armored personnel carriers. However, police versions of standard consumer vehicles are specifically excluded from this subdivision.
(3) High mobility multipurpose wheeled vehicles (HMMWV), commonly referred to as Humvees, two and one-half-ton trucks, five-ton trucks, or wheeled vehicles that have a breaching or entry apparatus attached. However, unarmored all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) and motorized dirt bikes are specifically excluded from this subdivision.
(4) Tracked armored vehicles that provide ballistic protection to their occupants and utilize a tracked system instead of wheels for forward motion.
(5) Command and control vehicles that are either built or modified to facilitate the operational control and direction of public safety units.
(6) Weaponized aircraft, vessels, or vehicles of any kind.
(7) Battering rams, slugs, and breaching apparatuses that are explosive in nature. However, items designed to remove a lock, such as bolt cutters, or a handheld ram designed to be operated by one person, are specifically excluded from this subdivision.
(8) Firearms of .50 caliber or greater. However, standard-issue shotguns are specifically excluded from this subdivision.
(9) Ammunition of .50 caliber or greater. However, standard-issue shotgun ammunition is specifically excluded from this subdivision.
(10) Specialized firearms and ammunition of less than .50 caliber, including assault weapons as defined in Sections 30510 and 30515 of the Penal Code, with the exception of standard-issue service weapons and ammunition of less than .50 caliber that are issued to officers, agents, or employees of a law enforcement agency or a state agency.
(11) Any firearm or firearm accessory that is designed to launch explosive projectiles.
(12) ‘Flashbang’ grenades and explosive breaching tools, ‘tear gas,’ and ‘pepper balls,’ excluding standard, service-issued handheld pepper spray.
(13) Taser Shockwave, microwave weapons, water cannons, and the Long Range [sic] Acoustic Device (LRAD).
(14) The following projectile launch platforms and their associated munitions: 40mm projectile launchers, ‘bean bag,’ rubber bullet, and specialty impact munition (SIM) weapons.
(15) Any other equipment as determined by a governing body or a state agency to require additional oversight.
(16) Notwithstanding paragraphs (1) through (15), “military equipment” does not include general equipment not designated as prohibited or controlled by the federal Defense Logistics Agency.”
VIEW THE POLICY
AB 481 requires the Rialto City Council to adopt a written military equipment use policy by ordinance in a public forum by May 1, 2022, in order to continue the use of previously acquired military equipment.
The policy is required to be made available to the public. Click here to view the military equipment policy and click here to view the military equipment inventory. Additionally, the entire Rialto Police Department Policy Manual is available here.
The Rialto Police Department is required to establish a military equipment use concern or complaint process. Concerned members of the public may contact the Military Equipment Coordinator, Captain Mark Adams, by telephone at (909)820-8066, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Members of the public wishing to attend the public forum for adoption of the military equipment use policy may view upcoming City Council Meetings here.