Introduced at the City Council meeting of Oct 9, 2023, by Culver City Police Chief Jason Sims, the annual report on police use of military equipment was presented in full by CCPD’s Lt. Ryan Thompson. The law, which requires that the police share this information, was passed by the state in 2021 and then further supported by municipal ordinance in 2022. It requires the approval of the CCPD military equipment use policy by the council, and a report of the use of all weapons that fall into this category.
Sims began by offering a few footnotes, saying that “None of the equipment in the Culver City Police Department’s inventory has been obtained from the military, nor is it solely designed for military use.”
He also noted that “After completing our first presentation, for a community meeting in September, we did see that five drone deployments were inadvertently not included in the report. We have since updated that information, but we were not able to update it in time [for this evening’s presentation to the council.] The discrepancy was related to a data collection issue specific to the drone [program.] The issue has been rectified, and I am confident in the accuracy of the report.”
The report on the use of military equipment from September 2022 to September 2023 covered the drone program, chemicals weapons, and rifles. CCPD reported 14 drone deployments, two discharges of chemical agents, three utilizations of the City’s Mobile Command Center, 15 incidents of directing a rifle and one incident of discharging a rifle.
The Mobile Command Center which was described as “not a tank, nothing assaultive, it’s just a 30 feet trailer,” with one deployment being an incident with an armed and barricaded suspect, and the other two being ‘community events.’
From Lt. Thompson, “All rifle deployments involved armed, dangerous and/or felony suspects,” and only one incident involved firing the weapon.
There were four incidents of directing a less-lethal (40mm) weapon and one incident of a discharge of a less-lethal weapon. An internal review showed that no CCPD personnel had unlawfully deployed or discharged military equipment.
The costs involved included $1343.00 to replace a drone, and while exact figures for training were not presented, it was stated that all police weapons training is scheduled for regular working hours, with some occasional overtime involved. There is no new equipment planned for purchase in the coming year.