Redlands Police Department Shares List of Military Equipment
On April 19, Redlands Police Chief Chris Catren presented Ordinance No. 2932 to the City Council detailing a military equipment use policy in order to comply with Assembly Bill 481, which Gavin Newsom signed in September 2021. The Bill requires law enforcement agencies adopt such a policy, approved by the local governing body.
The bill requires an annual inventory of police departments' military equipment. The submitted ordinance detailed almost $970,000 worth of military equipment, plus maintenance costs.
Chief Catren stated, "It should be noted that the term 'military equipment' is a complete misnomer in this law. As you'll see in this policy, we only have one actual piece of equipment from the military. It actually refers to many items that are used solely in civilian law enforcement purposes."
Mayor Barich acknowledged this, saying people "think we're bringing a tank or something in."
Catren replied, acknowleding the council did approve a civilian-purposed amored vehicle, which the department should obtain before July 1.
"That's great," Barich said. "We have to keep people safe, and we appreciate that."
The priciect item on the list was the tank Catren referred to--a Lenco Bearcat, G3, which costs approximately $350,000. The Lenco Bearcat, G3, is an armored vehicle whose purpose the document lists as "To be used in response to critical incidents to enhance officer and community safety, improve scene containment and stabilization, and assist in resolving critical incidents."
Also included are several "less lethal weapon systems." Though the document states their purpose as "to limit the escalation of conflict where employment of lethal force is prohibited or
undesirable," their authorized uses include "self-destructive, dangerous and/or combative individuals, riot/crowd control and civil unrest incidents, and circumstances where a tactical advantage can be obtained."
In addition, the department lists 100 AR-15s and six Heckler & Koch MP-5 submachineguns amongst its inventory.
AB 481 requires, "Within 30 days of submitting and publicly releasing the annual report, the Department shall hold at least one well-publicized and conveniently located community engagement meeting, at which the Department should discuss the report and respond to public questions regarding the funding, acquisition, or use of military equipment."
Catren did not mention this requirement or a planned community-engagement meeting, stating rather that the bill requires the ordicance be available for public view for 30 days and adding that his department had the ordinace "up for well over 60" on their website and received "no public input or inquiry."
The ordinace passed unanimously.