Service for Delaine Eastin
Al's Corner June: Committee Rise, Committee Set

Police Surveillance and Military Equipment Acquisition Policies t

MRAP 2014-08-29 at 9.42.39
MRAP 2014-08-29 at 9.42.39 AM

To be Discussed and Possibly Decided at Tuesday, June 4th Davis Council Meeting

By Scott Steward

Right when Davis is in full graduation mode - the City is to consider items that have everything to do with how free you are to express your views without being recorded and traced, with or without your knowledge.  Is this servail increasing our safety or providing more tools that have to be maintained and that have to find an excuse to exist?

Military equipment in a civil city?  Where Davis has been resistant, other communities are less so, and the armaments that our police department does not have, it can leave them wondering if they have to borrow the highest gauge shielding and firearms.  Or is that true?  Is keeping the peace more about relationships and not over-arming to defend against community breakdowns that erupt in bizarre and tragic ways?  Ways that no shielding can defend.  A teenager hidden in a house, a gun owner deciding he does not like a police officer, a gun owner whose roommate does not suspect he has lost it. Or a knife held by a young man whose mind and body go feral?

Disarming those whose weapons are for organized crime and premeditated harm, this is part of peacekeeping, and how that can happen safely for the police officers is to be heard and understood.  What are the tradeoffs? What is necessary, and what is contributing to escalation?

Item 5 (7:15) - agenda is here:


Robert Canning

I'm not sure the writer understands the intent of the agenda item that will be discussed tonight. Here is a section of the staff report that explains the origin and intent of the annual review:

California Assembly Bill 481 was signed by Governor Newsom on September 30, 2021, and requires that law enforcement agencies obtain approval from the agency’s governing body (the City Council) prior to: purchasing, raising funds for, or acquiring “military equipment”; using “military equipment”; and collaborating with other law enforcement agencies in the deployment or use of “military equipment” within the governing body’s territorial jurisdiction (Government Code § 7071).

The term “military equipment” does not necessarily indicate equipment that has been used by the military, obtained from the military, or is even considered military grade. Items now deemed to be “military equipment” are widely and regularly used by law enforcement agencies all over the country for a variety of law enforcement related critical incidents and include, but are not limited to, unmanned aerial or ground vehicles (i.e. drones or bomb disposal robots), armored vehicles, command post vehicles, battering rams, pepper balls, impact munitions, tear gas, and commonly used long rifles (Government Code § 7070).

The stated intent of the new law is to increase transparency, accountability and oversight
surrounding the acquisition and use of the designated “military equipment” by State and local law enforcement.

Robert Canning
PAC Member

Robert Canning

I forgot to mention that the Commission welcomes public input on it's work. You can email the PAC or even better, attend our meetings. Please come and participate. That is one of the best ways to increase transparency and accountability.


Thank you for the additional information. I think the community is accurately being alerted to a policy discussion about police use of surveillance and enforcement equipment. I think you would agree that the public, which is not elected and not as directly influenced by statements of police union support or withdrawal of support, would also want to observe how this item is discussed and the conclusions drawn from the application of transparency, accountability, and oversight.

It could be that what law enforcement considers "standard" is what the informed lay public considers excessive or unnecessary. Let's find out.

Tuvia ben Olam DBA Todd Edelman

"Military" may be as useless as is "Green" (in relation to environmental issues). While it's useful that Robert Canning detailed that list of what is considered by some as "military", there seems to be less recognition that the paid security force of an incorporated city is... military. It's just municipal military: Weapons, various security technologies, hierarchy, uniforms, supervision by civilian management or elected bodies... sworn re: "enemies foreign and domestic" etc.

No, the Davis Police will not be called to resist an invasion by Woodland Police, but in the deeper sense of things, I don't see a huge difference between the local and national armies.

Ron O

No, the Davis Police will not be called to resist an invasion by Woodland Police, . . .

True - it's more likely that the Davis police will call the Woodland police to periodically send down the MRAP that Davis didn't want. :-)

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