On September 30, 2021, Governor Newsom signed into law seven major peace officer reform bills, including Assembly Bill 481. AB 481 was authored by Assemblymember David Chieu (D-San Francisco) to address the funding, acquisition, and use of items lawmakers deemed to be considered “military equipment.”
This bill requires law enforcement agencies, including the La Palma Police Department, “to obtain approval of the applicable governing body, by adoption of a military equipment use policy, as specified, by ordinance at a regular meeting held pursuant to specified open meeting laws, prior to taking certain actions relating to the funding, acquisition, or use of military equipment, as defined.” The full text of AB 481 is available here.
Furthermore, AB 481 requires similar approval for the continued use of “military equipment” acquired by the La Palma Police Department prior to January 1, 2022, and allows the governing body to approve the funding, acquisition, or use of military equipment within its jurisdiction only if it determines that the military equipment meets specified standards.
The Assembly Bill has created Government Code 7070 to designate the following 15 categories of items as military equipment:
The La Palma Police Department is currently in possession of items in Categories 1, 5, 10, 12, and 14 from the above list, and all items were approved during the associated budgetary periods commensurate with the items purchased. A detailed list of inventory of items can be found in the draft Military Equipment Policy below.
The La Palma Police Department belongs to a regional North County SWAT (NCS) team, comprising of the Brea, Fullerton, La Habra, Placentia, and California State University, Fullerton police departments. Member agencies of the NCS, other than the La Palma Police Department, are in possession of items in Categories 1, 2, 5, 7, 10, 12, 13, and 14. Each agency is responsible for obtaining the approval for the use of their equipment from their respective governing body pursuant to AB 481.
AB 481 requires each law enforcement agency's governing body to adopt a written military equipment use policy by ordinance in a public forum by April 30, 2022, in order to continue the use of this previously acquired military equipment effective May 1, 2022. The La Palma Police Department is providing information to our residents on the following required materials:
The La Palma Police Department has uploaded several written documents on this website 30 days prior to a public meeting to meet the requirements of AB 481. Members of the public are encouraged to contact the La Palma Police Department at 714-690-3370, or by contacting Captain Amend via email at email@example.com with any questions or concerns. Also, visit the City of La Palma’s webpage here for information on all upcoming public meetings pertaining to this matter.