In recent years, protesters have come face to face with police forces that are increasingly well-equipped with battlefield surveillance technologies. That’s because U.S. police are getting more and more equipment from the U.S. military—including sophisticated surveillance equipment. The trend has led to disturbing scenes like those from 2014 protests against police shootings, in which peaceful protesters were confronted by law enforcement equipped with sophisticated military equipment.
In California, a bill is moving forward that would rein in those acquisitions of military equipment, and restore frayed relationships between police and the communities they serve. A.B. 3131 would allow police to acquire military equipment only after the acquisition is approved by a relevant elected legislative body, with opportunity for public comment required.
Typically, the governing body for a law enforcement agency will be a city council or county board of supervisors. These officials would also ne