CCPD granted access to military equipment by split council

At the City Council meeting on the evening of Monday, Sept. 12, the council voted to adopt an ordinance adding subchapter 3.04.400 to chapter 3.04 of the city’s municipal code governing the use of military equipment by the Culver City Police Department.

The bill approves the use of military equipment pursuant  to Assembly Bill 481, which requires all equipment classified as military to be approved annually by the City Council.

Ordinance number 2022 states that, “AB 481 seeks to provide transparency, oversight, and an opportunity for meaningful public input on decisions regarding whether and how military equipment is funded, acquired, or used.”

It also goes on to state that, “the Culver City Police Department does not possess any tactical equipment obtained from the military, nor does it possess any equipment that is designed solely for military use.”

Funding for the equipment was approved at the Aug. 22 meeting, when it was clarified that equipment categorized as military that the CCPD currently has in its inventory includes drones, two armored vans, specialized rifles, flashbands, tear gas, and kinetic energy weapons (beanbags).

Chief Manuel Cid pointed out then that only trained officers will use the equipment, as defined in AB 481. He said that this equipment actually allows the police department to keep the public and the officers safer by using non-lethal means of control.

Not everyone agrees though; the public speakers on Monday evening were split. Meanwhile, Council Member Yasmine-Imani McMorrin said that she simply couldn’t support the use of military equipment that she feels will do more harm than good. 

Mayor Daniel Lee abstained, and so the bill passed 3-1.