Community meeting

Los Gatos-Monte Sereno Police Host Community Meeting on Military Weapons

The Los Gatos-Monte Sereno Police Department will host a community meeting March 29 on the funding, acquisition, and use of military weapons in light of a new state law.

The law, Assembly Bill 481, requires police departments to obtain approval from state or local agencies for the purchase or fundraising of military weapons.

The department will hold a virtual community meeting at 7 p.m. via Zoom to discuss the law, the department’s current inventory of military equipment, and its proposed plan for the funding, acquisition, and use of military weapons. .

The meeting is required by law and aims to increase transparency and adopt regulations for military-grade equipment.

The new law is one of seven major police officer reform bills Governor Gavin Newsom signed into law last September. It requires law enforcement to pass a written military use policy ordinance by April 30 to be able to use the military weapons they already possess. The law also establishes a concerns and complaints process.

Armored vehicles, rams, command and control vehicles, firearms of .50 caliber or greater and the like are considered military equipment under the law.

The Santa Clara Police Department held a similar meeting earlier this year and hosted two focus group meetings and two public forums.

Community members can email any questions regarding the department’s military equipment and weapons to [email protected]

Initiated reported that in 2020, the United States spent more than $15 billion on police militarization

Military equipment and weapons are typically acquired through a program called 1033, an online marketplace that distributes surplus military goods as federal grants to police, sheriffs and other agencies, the Washington Post reported.

Until 2017, police could only participate in the program if they used the equipment within a year of receiving it.

The Zoom link to the meeting is at https://nextdoor.com/agency-detail/ca/los-gatos/los-gatos-monte-sereno-police-department or on the Facebook page of the Los Gatos-Monte Sereno Police Department, www.facebook.com/LGMSPolice/posts/480253836928329.