Assembly Bill 481 – Military Equipment Funding, Acquisition and Use Policy
On September 30, 2021, Governor Newsom signed a series of eight (8) policing reform bills with the goal of increasing transparency of peace officer misconduct records and creating a system to decertify peace officers for serious misconduct, improving policing responsibility and accountability guidelines, raising eligibility standards, banning harmful restraint techniques, and creating a public forum for the funding, acquisition and use of military equipment.
AB 481 was authored by Assembly member David Chiu (D-San Francisco) to specifically address the funding, acquisition and use of military equipment for local law enforcement.
AB 481 Definition of Military Equipment
The Assembly Bill has designated the following categories of items as military equipment. The Mountain View Police Department has equipment that meets the criteria for 4 of the 15 categories (categories 1, 5, 8, 14):
- Unmanned, remotely piloted, powered aerial or ground vehicles (Equipment Category 1)
- Mine-resistant ambush-protected 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 and ammunition of .50 caliber or greater, excluding standard-issue shotguns and standard-issue shotgun ammunition (Equipment Category 8)
- 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, with the exception of standard-issue handguns (Equipment Category 9)
- Any firearm or firearm accessory that is designed to launch explosive projectiles (Equipment Category 10)
- Noise-flash diversionary devices and explosive breaching tools (Equipment Category 12)
- Munitions containing tear gas or OC, excluding standard, service-issued handheld pepper spray (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
Per AB 481, law enforcement agencies are required to commence the process for adopting a written military use policy by May 1, 2022 in order to continue the use of this previously acquired equipment. To help guide this process, MVPD has pulled together summaries of AB 481 for our residents, as well as the following required materials, below:
- MVPD’s draft policy 709 is available to view here. The AB 481 defined list of military equipment currently in MPVD’s possession is included in the draft policy, as well as each item’s purpose, authorized use, expected lifespan and fiscal impact.
- Establish a concern or complaint process. For years, our community has had ways for the community to submit commendations, questions and complaints. Additional information is available here.
- Include in our Annual Report the use of military equipment, any complaints received, any internal audits or other information about violations of Policy 709, the cost of such use and other similar information. The first Annual Report that will include this content will be distributed in 2023, per the requirements of AB 481.
Public Input Regarding AB 481
As required for transparency, we have uploaded documents on this website 30 days prior to a public meeting to meet the requirements of AB 481.
In addition, we will be facilitating a community forum to gather input on AB 481, including:
- Public Safety Advisory Body meeting: March 24, 2022
Feedback from the above meeting will be incorporated into the Report to Council. This item will be considered by the Mountain View City Council at the April 26, 2022 meeting. Complete agenda packets with back-up reports for City Council meetings are available online beginning the Friday before the Tuesday meeting. City council meetings, live or archived, can be viewed here or here.