Proposed Military Equipment Policies

Assembly Bill (AB) 481

On September 30, 2021, Governor Newsom signed a series of eight (8) policing reform legislation aimed at 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 creates 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 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 Morgan Hill Police Department has equipment that meets the criteria for 11 of the 15 categories (categories 1, 3, 5, 7, 10, 12, and 14):

  • Unmanned, remotely piloted, powered aerial or ground vehicles
    (Equipment Category 1)
    • Drone - Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) 
      A picture containing sky, toy, object

Description automatically generated
  • Mine-resistant ambush-protected vehicles or armored personnel carriers (Equipment Category 2) 
    • Not acquired
  • 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) 
    • Armored Rescue Vehicles: 

                     High mobility multipurpose vehicle
 

  • Tracked armored vehicles that provide ballistic protection to their occupants (Equipment Category 4)
    • Not acquired
  • Command and control vehicles that are either built or modified to facilitate the operational control and direction of public safety units
    (Equipment Category 5)
    • Mobile Command Vehicle (MCV): A vehicle used as a mobile office and provides shelter, access to department computer systems, phones, dispatch center, internet, and cameras.

                     Morgan Hill / Gilroy Police Department Mobile Command Center

  • Weaponized aircraft, vessels, or vehicles of any kind (Equipment Category 6)
    • Not acquired
  • Battering rams, slugs, and breaching apparatuses that are explosive in nature (Equipment Category 7)
    • Less Lethal Shotgun: is used to deploy the less-lethal 12-gauge Super-Sock Beanbag Round.

                      A weapon positioned on a table.

  • Firearms and ammunition of .50 caliber or greater, excluding standard-issue shotguns and standard-issue shotgun ammunition (Equipment Category 8)
    • Not acquired 
  • 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)
    • AR 15 (Patrol) and M4 Rifles (SWAT): Firing a .223 bullet having greater accuracy over a long distance. 
    • Remington 700 Rifle: Firing a .308 bullet having greater accuracy over a long distance used by our SWAT sniper.                   AR15 Stock Photos

                     A picture containing weapon, object

Description automatically generated

  • Any firearm or firearm accessory that is designed to launch explosive projectiles (Equipment Category 10)
    • Not acquired
  • Noise-flash diversionary devices and explosive breaching tools
    (Equipment Category 11)
    • Flash-Bang Distraction Devices (SWAT): To produce atmospheric overpressure and brilliant white light and, as a result, can cause short-term (6 - 8 seconds) physiological/psychological, sensory deprivation to give officers a tactical advantage.
      Flash Bang Distraction Device
  • Munitions containing tear gas or OC, excluding standard, service-issued handheld pepper spray (Equipment Category 12)
    • Chemical Agent and Smoke Canisters: Canisters containing chemical agents or smoke are released when deployed.

           Munitions containing tear gas

  • TASER® Shockwave, microwave weapons, water cannons, and long-range acoustic devices (Equipment Category 13)
    • Long Range Acoustic Device (LRAD) is a directional loudspeaker used for hailing, notification, and an unmistakable warning tone.
      TASER Shockwave
  • Kinetic energy weapons and munitions (Equipment Category 14)
    • 40 MM Launchers and Rounds: are utilized by department personnel as a less-lethal tool to launch impact rounds.
    •  PepperBall launchers: are utilized by department personnel as a less-lethal tool to launch pepper balls over a longer distance.
      Kinetic energy weapons

                        PepperBall launcherPepperBall Projectiles

  •  Any other equipment as determined by a governing body or a state agency to require additional oversight (Equipment Category 15)
    • Not acquired

The full text of AB 481 is available

Requirements of AB 481

AB 481 requires each law enforcement agency's governing body to adopt a written military use policy by ordinance in a public forum by April 30, 2022, to continue using this previously acquired equipment effective May 1, 2022. To help guide this process, MHPD has crafted a summary of AB 481 for our residents, as well as the following required materials:

  • MHPD's draft Lexipol Policy 709 is available to view. The AB 481 defined list of military equipment currently in MHPD'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 many years, MHPD has had a means for the public to submit commendations, questions, and complaints online. Additional information is available on our website.  
  • Prepare an Annual Report to include the use of military equipment and complaints received, internal audits, or other information about violations of MHPD Lexipol Policy 709, the cost of such use, and other similar information. This web page will be utilized to distribute any updates to the above materials and the Annual Report. The first Annual Report will be distributed on or around May 2023.

NOTE:  MHPD has not obtained, nor does it utilize, any equipment procured from the United States Department of Defense through the Law Enforcement Support Program, also known as the 1028 or 1033 program.

Public Input Regarding AB 481

MHPD has uploaded multiple written documents on this website 30-days prior to a public meeting to meet the requirements of AB 481.

The Morgan Hill City Council is scheduled to consider this item at the April 6, 2022, meeting.