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Sentinel staff report–
A public hearing held Thursday night was short and uneventful as no members of the public opted to speak regarding a proposed policy that defines what kind of military equipment can be used and acquired by the Citrus Heights Police Department.
The policy passed unanimously in a 5-0 vote during the April 28 meeting, with no comment from the council, following a staff report from Police Lt. Jason Baldwin.
See full policy: click here.
As previously reported, Baldwin said the passage of Assembly Bill 481 prompted the proposal, due to the bill’s requirement for a military equipment use policy to be adopted prior to a law enforcement agency “funding, acquiring, or using military equipment.”
The lieutenant also said AB 481 broadly defines military equipment in a way that “does not necessarily indicate equipment that has been used by the military,” noting that such items include drones, rifles, armored vehicles, pepper balls, and some less-lethal shotguns and projectile launchers. The legislation was intended to ensure residents have an opportunity to comment on and are aware of their Police Department’s purchase and use of military-style equipment.
In Citrus Heights, the Police Department’s most high-profile military vehicle is an MRAP, or Mine-Resistant Ambush-Protected vehicle, which many departments received at little to no cost as part of a military surplus program. Such vehicles are specified in the policy as being allowed to be used in Citrus Heights, along with “tracked armored vehicles” and “weaponized aircraft, vessels, or vehicles of any kind.”
Battering rams, drones, tasers, water cannons, pepper spray, firearms of .50-caliber or greater, and other items are also listed as military equipment to potentially be used.
The written report said approval of the military equipment use policy was necessary for the department to continue to use “vital equipment” it has already been utilizing.
“These tools have been tested in the field, and are used by LEAs to enhance citizen safety, officer safety,” Baldwin said in his report. “Loss of these items would jeopardize the welfare of citizens and peace officers within the CHPD”
The policy also includes specific guidelines describing the approved use of such equipment, along with the cost, replacement cost, and training required. Additionally, the policy requires a report to be submitted annually and posted on the Police Department’s website listing each type of military equipment in the department’s inventory.
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