Stockton OKs new policy for cops’ use of military equipment

Stockton is the first Valley city to wrestle with how best to acquire and manage military equipment for police use.

In order to comply with new state law, the Stockton City Council approved the police department’s use of military equipment. 

Last September, the California Legislature approved Assembly Bill 481, which requires law enforcement agencies to obtain approval from their governing bodies to adopt a military equipment use policy for all future acquisitions.


All future requests from the police department for such equipment will come before the city council with a presentation and a period for public comment, like any other regular agenda item.

It also requires approval for all military equipment that was acquired before this year.

Currently, the Stockton Police Department has the following military equipment either already in use or is scheduled to be by next month:

  • Drones 
  • One Lenco BearCat
  • Mobile Command Post
  • Mobile Negotiations Unit
  • SWAT 1 vehicle
  • Explosive charges that electronically detonate
  • Specialized firearms and ammunition of less than .50 caliber
  • Flashbangs
  • Tear gas
  • Kinetic energy weapons and munitions, such as a bean bag shotgun and a 40 mm launcher

The council approved the ordinance unanimously.

Per compliance with AB 481, the Stockton Police Department will hold at least one public community engagement meeting annually, beginning in January of next year.

In that meeting, the department will respond to any questions regarding equipment funding, acquisition or continued use.

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