The Culver City Police Department will be offering a community meeting to discuss Assembly Bill 481 – the acquisition and use of military equipment – on July 21, 2022 at 6:30 PM at the Veteran’s Memorial Auditorium.
The law as it was originally written allows law enforcement agencies to receive “surplus property, including arms and ammunition” * from the federal Department of Defense at no cost. AB 481 now requires that the law enforcement agency obtain approval from the “applicable governing body.” The bill also requires approval from the same governing body in regard to equipment acquired prior to January, 2022.
Authored by Assemblymember David Chiu (D-San Francisco,) the bill was a response to the use of military grade weapons during the protest in the summer of 2020. “Our citizens are not enemy combatants… I do want to make clear that nothing in this bill prohibits police from getting equipment, but first, they need to go through a governing board to authorize [what they are getting] and the uses of that [equipment.]”
The bill was approved by Governor Gavin Newsom in September of 2021, and became state law in 2022.
Chiu noted “We saw the use of military equipment at largely peaceful protests – equipment that made a lot of folks uncomfortable and questioned the relationship between police departments and the communities they serve.”
Culver City will offer a Webex link for anyone unable to attend in person.
* See comment below for more detailed and specific info from the law on the definition of equipment.