Visalia/Tulare

Tulare County chafes over revealing Sheriff’s military equipment

As required by state law, Tulare County took steps Tuesday to approve a military equipment use policy for the sheriff’s office.

Though the policy was introduced and will be passed on June 7, the Tulare County Board of Supervisors did not let it get through without taking a few swipes at it first.

Assembly Bill 481 took effect at the beginning of the year, requiring all jurisdictions to publicize what military equipment their respective law enforcement agencies have as well as create a policy to govern such equipment.

Such policies have been making their way across many Central Valley jurisdictions, with Tulare County being the latest to undertake the effort.

Per AB 481, the state designated various items as military equipment, including drones, robots and armored vehicles, among others.

“This equipment isn’t for a parade. This equipment is necessary for the maintenance of public safety. I appreciate the transparency that this law requires, but personally I find it unnecessary,” said Supervisor Pete Vander Poel.

“I’m fully supportive of the sheriff’s department and Sheriff [Mike] Boudreaux’s goal to be at or above industry standard because that’s what our Tulare County public deserves. This is just something that’s creating work for no reason.” 

Supervisor Amy Shuklian echoed Vander Poel’s comments. 

“I wonder if the bad guys need to know everything that you do have to combat them,” Shuklian said.

Once the ordinance is passed, the Tulare County Sheriff’s Office will have to receive approval from the Board of Supervisors for every piece of military equipment it wants to purchase. 

The Tulare County Sheriff’s Office’s current armory of military equipment includes the following: 

  • Chemical agents such as pepper spray and tear gas
  • Less lethal weapons and munitions, such as 40mm launchers
  • One Lenco BearCat
  • Two drones
  • Two planes: a 2017 Cessna StationAir T206H and a 2004 Cessna StationAir T206H
  • An F6A-J Robot which cost $250,000
  • Two mobile command posts
Daniel Gligich is a reporter for The San Joaquin Valley Sun, focusing on Fresno State Athletics and the southern San Joaquin Valley. Email him at daniel.gligich@sjvsun.com.