An updated version of the Los Angeles Police Department’s military equipment-use policy was unanimously approved by the Board of Police Commissioners Tuesday, clearing the way for an ordinance to be drafted for the City Council.
The council voted 9-3 last week for the city attorney to prepare an ordinance, and the commissioners to concurrently amend language regarding mutual aid requests. The amendment ensures that during situations where outside law enforcement agencies are assisting in Los Angeles, the LAPD’s police chief would remain in command of those officers.
The edit was run through the city attorney last week, who determined it was appropriate, Commander Steven Lurie of the LAPD said during Tuesday’s meeting.
A draft ordinance will be discussed by the council’s Public Safety Committee on Wednesday at a special meeting.
The item was pursuant to Assembly Bill 481, which was passed last year in response to the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis in an attempt to increase the accountability and transparency of law enforcement. AB 481 requires all law enforcement agencies in California to establish and publish policies governing the use of military equipment. The policies must be approved by the City Council, and agencies must publish annual public reports on using and acquiring military equipment beginning next year.
Lurie said an ordinance would be drafted and published by Sept. 23 so it can take effect by Oct. 23 — the last day the council has to approve the policy under the bill.
The council moved forward with implementing the ordinance last week over objections from a few council members and activists who raised concerns about the LAPD’s proposed report. Council Members Mike Bonin, Marqueece Harris-Dawson and Nithya Raman voted against the item. Bonin and Raman cited what they viewed as vague or sufficient language in the report.
Councilwoman Monica Rodriguez, chair of the Public Safety Committee, voted in favor but said the discussion would continue at Tuesday’s Board of Police Commissioners meeting. She noted some vague observations and notations on the report, though no other changes were discussed Tuesday other than the clarifying the language surrounding mutual aid requests.