Pleasanton council discusses the importance of police having military-grade equipment in an emergency | New

Pleasanton City Council gave initial support last week to an ordinance that would continue to allow the Pleasanton Police Service to use military or specialist equipment.

Council members passed first reading on June 7 with the agreement that city staff and Pleasanton police will return at next week’s meeting with more information and statistics on how often police use this equipment.

“We’re approving something that I don’t know how often we use all these things and for what purposes, and I know that information isn’t readily available tonight, but I’d like to see that,” the vice-president said. Mayor Valerie Arkin.

Pleasanton Police have sought to push through the ordinance which adopts a policy on the use of military equipment and although the council unanimously approved the first reading, department heads must now come back with information on equipment usage and statistics.

The ordinance is part of Assembly Bill 481, which was signed into law by Governor Gavin Newsom last September. The bill requires California police departments to maintain a running list of what is defined as military equipment for oversight by local governing bodies, which now have the authority to approve or reject the use of such equipment by local law enforcement.

Military equipment, as defined by AB 481, does not necessarily indicate equipment used by the military. Items considered by the bill to be “military equipment” include robotic vehicles, armored rescue vehicles, tear gas, less than lethal weapons such as shotguns, 40 millimeter projectiles and blasting devices. noise/flash diversion – all of which are Pleasanton Police. currently use or own.

Some of the main reasons council members were concerned were about protest and riot control equipment such as tear gas. Councilor Julie Testa told the meeting that members of the community had told her they were concerned that the police would allow the use of such equipment.

Council member Kathy Narum also asked if tear gas had ever been used in Pleasanton, but Police Chief David Swing told council that their tear gas had only been used by other towns, but not in Pleasanton.

Along with this came the main point of the police service to the council, that it is important to have this equipment not only in case of an emergency in Pleasanton, but for mutual aid in other nearby towns.

“So it’s not just about Pleasanton. It’s also about our ability to ask and respond to other agencies in our county to help us if needed,” Swing told the council.

On the subject of protest equipment, he also mentioned that the final approved list includes the acquisition of new non-lethal 40 millimeter projectiles. Swing said that while the goal is never to use, he still thinks it’s important for the safety of the city and the region.

“The recommendation, for example, for additional 40mm platforms is another example of our attempt to be more efficient by using the least amount of force needed to get someone to safety, Swing said.

Another main topic of discussion was the department’s armored truck, the Ballistic Armored Tactical Transport Vehicle. The purpose of the truck is to get to dangerous areas and rescue people and officers, according to the city staff report.

The discussion, however, was not about the removal of the truck, but rather how it is used for promotional purposes at events where children are allowed inside the vehicle.

Arkin said she was not comfortable with children being exposed to armored police vehicles. Testa shared that sentiment, saying there should be more talk about the department continuing this practice.

“Having him as an attraction in our neighborhoods and with our families, I think is uncomfortable for a lot of people,” Testa said.

But Narum said there were a lot of kids who wanted to see the armored truck and asked Swing to come back with more plans and information on handling the issue at next week’s meeting, scheduled for Tuesday, June 21.

The general notion within the council was unanimous in support of their obligation to keep Pleasanton safe and that keeping military or specialist equipment in the department is essential to plan for the worst case.

“If we don’t have them, what do we do when we have a catastrophic situation with an active shooter at an elementary school site? said Mayor Karla Brown. “If you have no way to get people in and out of a building, what do you do?”

In other cases

The council adopted a plan for allocating the special revenue fund linked to the Pleasanton Garbage Service (PGS) rate reserve. The plan will use money received from a previous agreement with PGS and the rate reserve to pay for new waste and recycling costs.

In 2020, the council approved the PGS rate reserve calculation of nearly $5.3 million and approved $2 million to be deposited in the city’s general fund and the remaining $3,342,285 to be placed in a special income and allocated at a later date.

According to the city staff report, “The main purpose of the plan is to provide a strategic approach to pass on new costs to ratepayers and, if necessary, smooth those costs over a period of time. Four areas are proposed for the use of these funds: implementation of state law SB 1383, street maintenance costs incurred by collection vehicles, smoothing trash rates, and landfill issues.”

Council approved the plan with a motion to also conduct a $25,000 nexus study for road maintenance due to collection vehicles so they can use the money to offset the one-time cost of road smoothing. tariffs, which would reduce the large variations in rates from one cycle to the next. .

“I would like to see a link study to find out what these three trucks going up and down everybody’s street, what they are doing to affect the quality of these roads that we spend millions to improve these roads every year “, Brown said.

City staff told council that ratepayers will benefit from the available funds, it’s just how they allocate those funds over time.

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