Assembly Bill  481 -  LMPD Military Equipment Policy & inventory

Assembly Bill 481 - Military Equipment Funding, Acquisition and Use Policy

On September 30, 2021, Governor Newsom signed a series of eight (8) policing reform bills aimed at increasing transparency of peace officer misconduct records, creating a system to decertify peace officers for serious misconduct, improving policing responsibility and accountability guidelines, raising eligibility standards, banning harmful restraint techniques, and creating a public forum for the funding, acquisition and use of military equipment.

AB 481 was authored by Assemblymember David Chiu (D-San Francisco) to address the funding, acquisition and use of military equipment. 

AB 481 Definition of Military Equipment

The Assembly Bill has designated the following categories of items as military equipment:

  • Unmanned, remotely piloted, powered aerial or ground vehicles (Equipment Category 1)
  • Mine-resistant ambush-protected vehicles or armored personnel carriers (Equipment Category 2)
  • High mobility multipurpose wheeled vehicles (HMMWV), two-and-one-half-ton trucks, five-ton trucks, or wheeled vehicles that have a breaching or entry apparatus attached (Equipment Category 3)
  • Tracked armored vehicles that provide ballistic protection to their occupants (Equipment Category 4)
  • Command and control vehicles that are either built or modified to facilitate the operational control and direction of public safety units (Equipment Category 5)
  • Weaponized aircraft, vessels, or vehicles of any kind (Equipment Category 6)
  • Battering rams, slugs, and breaching apparatuses that are explosive in nature (Equipment Category 7)
  • Firearms and ammunition of .50 caliber or greater, excluding standard-issue shotguns and standard-issue shotgun ammunition (Equipment Category 8)
  • Specialized firearms and ammunition of less than .50 caliber, including firearms and accessories identified as assault weapons in Penal Code § 30510 and Penal Code §30515, with the exception of standard-issue firearms and ammunition (Equipment Category 9)
  • Any firearm or firearm accessory that is designed to launch explosive projectiles (Equipment Category 10)
  • Noise-flash diversionary devices and explosive breaching tools (Equipment Category 11)
  • Munitions containing tear gas or OC, excluding standard, service-issued handheld pepper spray (Equipment Category 12)
  • TASER® Shockwave, microwave weapons, water cannons, and long-range acoustic devices (Equipment Category 13)
  • Kinetic energy weapons and munitions (Equipment Category 14)
  • Any other equipment as determined by a governing body or a state agency to require additional oversight (Equipment Category 15)

The La Mesa Police Department has equipment that meets the criteria for 9 of the 15 categories (Categories 1, 2, 5, 7, 9, 11, 12, 13 & 14).

NOTE:  The La Mesa Police Department does not utilize any equipment procured from the United States Department of Defense through the Law Enforcement Support Program (also known as the 1028 or 1033 program).

The full text of AB 481 is available here.

Requirements of AB 481

AB 481 requires each law enforcement agency to commence the process by the law enforcement agency’s governing body to approve a written military use policy by ordinance in a public forum by May 1, 2022, in order to continue the use of previously acquired equipment. 

To help guide this process, the La Mesa Police Department has crafted the above summary of AB 481 for our residents, and provided the following resources and materials:

  • The La Mesa Police Department’s draft policy is available to view here. The AB 481 defined list of military equipment in the La Mesa Police Department’s possession as of May 1, 2022, is included in the draft policy, along with each item’s purpose, authorized use, expected lifespan and fiscal impact.
  • The La Mesa Police Department has established a dedicated e-mail address that the public can utilize to voice their concerns.  Members of the public are encouraged to e-mail us at with any questions or concerns.
  • The La Mesa Police Department will prepare an Annual Report to include the use of military equipment, any complaints received, any internal audits or other information about violations of the La Mesa Police Department policy, the cost of such use and other similar information. This webpage will be utilized for distribution of any updates to the above materials as well as for the Annual Report. The first Annual Report is expected to be distributed on or about March 2023.


Public Input Regarding AB 481


The La Mesa Police Department has uploaded a draft of our proposed Military Equipment Use Policy on this website 30-days prior to the public City Council meeting as required by AB 481.

In addition, the La Mesa Police Department will provide a presentation on our proposed Military Equipment Use Policy to the Community Police Oversight Board at their April 20th, 2022, regular meeting.


This item will be considered by the La Mesa City Council at the April 26, 2022 regular meeting. Feedback from the public at the CPOB meeting or received by other means prior to the CPOB meeting will be summarized and incorporated into the Staff Report to the City Manager, Mayor, and City Council.  Complete agenda packets for the City Council meeting will be available beginning April 22, 2022 here. 

Resident participation in the City Council meeting is encouraged in any of the following ways:

  • Attend the meeting in person and provide a Public Comment
  • View on Cox Cable channel 24 (within La Mesa city limits)
  • View on AT&T U-Verse channel 99 (San Diego region)
  • View on the City’s website
  • View on the City’s YouTube channel
  • View on the City’s Facebook page
  • Submit a Public Comment