Assembly Bill 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 Gilroy Police Department has equipment that meets the criteria for 6 of the 15 categories (categories 1, 3, 5, 10, 12, and 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 of .50 caliber or greater, excluding standard-issue shotguns and standard-issue shotgun ammunition (Equipment Category 8)
- Ammunition of .50 caliber or greater, excluding standard-issue shotguns and standard-issue shotgun ammunition (Equipment Category 9)
- 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 10)
- Any firearm or firearm accessory that is designed to launch explosive projectiles (Equipment Category 11)
- Noise-flash diversionary devices and explosive breaching tools, munitions containing tear gas, and pepper balls, 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
AB 481 requires each law enforcement agency's governing body to adopt a written military use policy by ordinance in a public forum. To help guide this process, the Gilroy Police Department has crafted a summary of AB 481 for our residents, as well as the following required materials:
- GPD's draft Lexipol Policy 708 is available to view here. The AB 481 defined list of military equipment currently in GPD'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, GPD has had a means for the public to submit commendations, questions, and complaints. Additional information is available online.
- Prepare an Annual Report to include the use of military equipment, any complaints received, any internal audits or other information about violations of GPD Lexipol Policy 708, the cost of such use, and additional similar information. This webpage 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
Public Input Regarding AB 481
As required for transparency, GPD has uploaded multiple written documents on this website 30-days before a public meeting to meet the requirements of AB 481.
In addition, GPD has created two meaningful public forums to provide input regarding AB 481.
1 - Participate in a Community Meeting on Thursday, April 7, from 5:00 – 6:30 p.m at the Gilroy Police Department Community Room, located at 7301 Hanna Street. The meeting topics will include:
- Purpose of the new legislation
- Definition of military equipment
- GPD’s military equipment inventory
- GPD’s proposed equipment funding, acquisition, and use policy
- Pending annual report requirement
- Community engagement and public access to materials
2 - This item will be presented to the Gilroy City Council at the April 4, May 2, and May 16, 2022 meetings. Complete agenda packets for City Council meetings are available online the Thursday before the Monday meeting. Resident participation is encouraged in any of the following ways:
- View on the City’s website
- Public comment on any agenda item may be provided in person at the City Council Meetings.
- Public comment on any agenda item may be emailed to the City Clerk’s Office at firstname.lastname@example.org or mailed to the Gilroy City Clerk’s Office at City Hall, 7351 Rosanna Street, Gilroy, CA 95020.