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Ann Polivka's Message to Council on AB 481

Dear Council member, Because of the 2021 law, CA AB 481,Chico Police Department (CPD) now has a Military Equipment Policy 709 re the acquisition, use, and funding of military equipment they possess, and must provide an annual report to the public and Chico City Council. The Council is currently scheduled to review the policy and report in a public hearing at the regular meeting, April 4........and either approve the policy and continued use of the military equipment, or require amendments to the policy. I urge you to require major strengthening of CPD Policy 709, for both clarity and completeness, and compliance with CA AB 481. To give only two examples, strengthening the policy would mean: 1. listing the legal and procedural rules to follow tor use of each type of military equipment in CPD's arsenal, e.g., procedures for communicating with individuals in mental crisis, or non-English speakers, before deployment of sniper rifles, flash bang devices, or other types of military equipment the local police are currently authorized to use. CPD Policy 709 neglects to place limits on how their military equipment is to be used, letting officer discretion be their guide. 2. Strengthening the Military Equipment Policy would also mean incorporating another 2021 law, CA AB 48, into Policy 709. CA AB 48, like CA AB 481, also is intended to safeguard public welfare, rights, and liberties. As CPD Policy 709 now stands, nothing prevents officers from using rubber bullets and tear gas on First Amendment - protected assemblies for crowd control in whatever way they want, completely non-compliant with CA AB 48. Chico Police Department seems to expect the public to trust officer discretion, when, (according to Police Scoreboard), CPD has a higher arrest record for low-level offenses, more discrimination and misconduct complaints, and more deadly force per arrest than 80% of California police departments. And, all CPD officer- related killings have been deemed justifiable by the Butte County District Attorney. Chico PD uses worst-gas scenarios to justify weapons of war in its arsenal. Yet, 1938 was the last time a CPD officer was killed in the line-of-duty......an indication of how rare worst-case scenarios are in Chico. We urge Chico City Council members to consider the liability in case of officer misuse of military equipment. In New York, there has been a successful lawsuit against NYPD use of the Long Range Acoustic Device (LRAD), which can cause long term pain and hearing loss. Chico Police Department has an LRAD in its stock of military equipment and lists neither authorized nor unauthorized rules for use. I urge Council members to refuse to approve Chico PD Policy 709 until CPD has delineated rules for use of each particular type of military equipment, as required by CA AB 481, and has fully incorporated AB 48 law into its Policy 709 as well. The CPD Policy 466 is an inadequate attempt at fulfilling CA AB 48's requirements. Council members, please speak up for what is right. Insist on Chico Police Department compliance with the California law, and hopefully avoid yet another lawsuit! Thank you, Ann Polivka, community member


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