Council members had to approve the policy, which is required under a new California law, but City Attorney Charles Parkin told the council meeting that the LBPD had recently added an item to the inventory, which the department first published in May.
On June 29, the LBPD added the Strongwatch Mobile CCTV System, also known as “Freedom On-The-Move,” which is essentially a fancy camera mounted in the bed of a GMC Sierra pickup truck.
The system is capable of streaming live video to a command center so police can “monitor a situation in real time and coordinate responses to threats to public safety,” according to the LBPD’s revised inventory. The monitoring system was would have used to monitor a Black Lives Matter Long Beach protest march in July 2020.
Parkin’s remarks at the city council meeting or the revised inventory do not make it clear why the Strongwatch system was not included in the initial May inventory, and an LBPD spokesperson did not immediately responded to a request for comment.
While the Long Beach Police Department has used military-grade equipment for years, board approval is now required by AB 481, which Governor Gavin Newsom signed in September 2021. The bill requires every State law enforcement agency to make public an annual report. inventory of any equipment it uses that was originally designed for the military, and its equipment usage policy. To continue using the equipment, these documents must now obtain the approval of the governing body of the department, in this case the city council.
The LBPD inventory shows that the department already possesses, among other things, three armored trucks, several drones and robots, and 125 high-powered rifles intended for use in various situations, such as confronting hostile suspects at a distance or allowing officers of the SWAT to shoot. snipers from afar.
Two of the most powerful weapons listed in the LBPD inventory are a Barrett .50 caliber sniper rifle – intended for use in stopping a moving vehicle when no other option is available – and two NATO FN America M240B rifles 7.62×51 mm, which are “medium”. machine guns” primarily used by US soldiers in battlefields such as Iraq and Afghanistan, according to the manufacturer.
The LBPD acquired the weapons for use in particularly dangerous and extreme events such as acts of terrorism, according to an LBPD spokesperson.
According to the LBPD, only four SWAT officers are trained and certified to use the Barrett rifle and FN America pistols. None of them have yet been used in action, according to the LBPD.
The inventory also includes a detailed tally of “less-lethal rounds,” like the 40-millimeter foam projectiles, which the LBPD used extensively during the 2020 protests following the killing of George Floyd. A journalist was hit in the neck by such a bullet and had to be treated in hospital.
It is unclear when the LBPD’s military weapons policy and inventory will return to the board for approval.
City Council to review LBPD’s new military weapons policy