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Letter: Transparency regarding use of military equipment

Letter: Transparency regarding use of military equipment

March 7, 2024 at 1:28 a.m.

In 2021 Calif Assembly Bills AB 481 and AB48 became law requiring greater transparency of the military equipment that law enforcement agencies possess. Chico Police Department’s Military Equipment Policy 709 had been renewed and approved by Chico City Council in 2022 and 2023. The public is encouraged to learn about how and at what cost this equipment is being used. Will it safeguard our welfare, safety, civil rights and liberties?

AB 481 was passed to control military equipment on the streets of California. Legislators were alarmed about how many civilians were injured by military equipment during protests.

AB 481 requires Chico PD to hold an annual Community Engagement meeting. This will be held Thursday, March 28 at 6 p.m. at the City Council Chambers. The general public may discuss and ask questions regarding the annual military equipment report and the Chico PD’s funding, acquisition or use of military equipment.

Chico PD must submit its military equipment use policy and report to Chico City Council at a regular public council meeting.

City Council is required by AB 481 to review the policy annually, then determine, based on the report, whether Chico PD may continue using the equipment, or must amend it before continuing to acquire or use the equipment.

Militarization is antithetical to what CC4J Concerned Community for Justice is calling for. We ask for police officers to de-escalate in their responses. We’re asking for protection of First Amendment rights to peacefully assemble without the police using military grade weapons on protestors.

Diane Suzuki, Chico

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