Assembly Bill 481 and Military Equipment
The Petaluma Police Department has a longstanding commitment to maintaining public safety readiness by ensuring police officers are properly trained and equipped with the necessary safety equipment to safeguard the lives and property of Petaluma community members while maintaining the highest levels of officer safety and through best policing standards and practices.
There is significant interest in ensuring that law enforcement continues to have access to state of the art equipment that will provide for the safety of community members and our police officers that include as many options as possible to safeguard lives, ensure safety, increase opportunities for de-escalation through crisis communications, time, and distance to peacefully resolve critical emergency events while protecting civil liberties.
As part of California Assembly Bill (AB) 481 law enforcement agencies are required to obtain approval of the applicable governing body (Mayor and City Council), by adoption of a military equipment use policy prior to taking certain actions relating to the funding, acquisition, or use of military equipment as defined by the legislature.
To help guide this process, and create transparency for our community, Petaluma Police Department established this webpage to provide all required materials including draft policy, current applicable equipment, and full text of the bill. AB 481 does not apply to standard issued duty firearms which include officers' handgun, shotgun, and rifle.
Military Equipment Annual Report and 2023 Update
The Petaluma Police Department is returning to City Council on August 7, 2023 to present the Military Equipment Annual Report to City Council and seek approval for authorization to acquire unmanned devices defined within category 1. The report provides a summary of the uses of all defined military equipment pursuant to AB 481 over the past year.
In advance of that meeting the Military Equipment Annual Report 2022-2023 report is being made available for review. Additionally, the following related documents, policies, and inventory appendix associated with this agenda item are:
Comments, Complaints, and Questions regarding AB 481 military equipment or the annual report can be emailed to the Petaluma Police Department at [email protected]
The Department also hosted a community engagement display on May 4, 2023, to provide community members the opportunity to view, comment on, discuss, and ask questions regarding the department’s military equipment. The community engagement event was shared with the public through the City’s weekly update and the City’s social media channels, including Facebook, Nextdoor, and Instagram pages. Members from the community, City Departments, City Council and media attended the community meeting.
Additionally, a representative from the local media photographed, asked questions, and documented the event in the local news media. Following the meeting, the Police Department provided written responses to the media, which were published in a series of news articles and editorials. The links for the published media can be found below:
INITIAL MILITARY EQUIPMENT FUNDING, ACQUISITION, AND USE POLICY (AB 481) PROCESS AND APPROVAL IN 2022
On April 18, 2022, the City of Petaluma gave public notice on AB 481 at the Council Meeting. The staff report and recording for that meeting can be located here.
On June 6, 2022 at 6:30pm, the City of Petaluma will hold a public hearing on AB 481 at the Council Meeting. Please visit the City's webpage on The City Of Petaluma Public Meeting Agendas, Minutes And Videos for information on how to participate. City Council agendas and staff reports are made available on the same webpage in advance of the Council Meeting.
Below you will find the documents associated with this agenda item for June 6, 2022.
Statements Regarding Prior Existing Specialized Safety Equipment
Petaluma Police Department has historically utilized specialty equipment to increase the safety of the community. Click on the links below to learn about some of this equipment, including the policies and procedures associated with its use and the history associated with the acquisition of the equipment.
Additional information; Chief's statement regarding standard issue duty rifles.