Monterey County Sheriff’s Office

MONTEREY COUNTY — Monterey County Board of Supervisors gave preliminary approval Nov. 7 for an updated military equipment use policy from the Monterey County Sheriff’s Office and received a report on the use of such equipment in part of 2022.

The Sheriff’s Office reported 33 uses of military equipment from April through December last year, including 14 training missions. Another nine were for servicing warrants and five were for a barricaded person.

Certain military surplus and other equipment must be reported to the Board of Supervisors as a requirement of a state law, Assembly Bill 481, passed in 2021. It was implemented in the county in May 2022 and requires approval of, and accounting of, uses and acquisitions of military equipment.

The list includes drones, armored vehicles and Humvees, firearms and ammunition .50-caliber or larger, and flashbang grenades, among other equipment.

The Sheriff’s Office owns eight vehicles that fall under the policy, including one mine-resistant ambush protecting vehicle, known as an MRAP, five Humvees and two pickup trucks. It currently has 10 aerial drones and three ground-based robots in its possession, along with 30 qualifying firearms, according to the report to the board.

The presentation was led by sheriff’s Sgt. Jason Smith, who said the Sheriff’s Office is looking to acquire an armored vehicle with a shield on the front of it, called “The Rook,” manufactured by Ring Power Tactical Solutions, but was not ready to make a formal request from the board.

The Sheriff’s Office is also planning to acquire 10 additional drones, at a cost of $26,000 each, and a mobile command vehicle, Smith said.

The Rook is a single-person armored vehicle on a tracked skid-loader with a removable battering ram that can also be equipped with an armored platform to deploy deputies, a vehicle extraction tool and a grapple claw, according to the report. The vehicle costs about $475,000. The Sheriff’s Office is planning to use grant money for the purchase, but the Board of Supervisors will still need to sign off on the purchase under the law.

The Sheriff’s Office also listed its desired acquisitions as another Humvee, an air boat, a dual-propeller aircraft and a multipurpose boat, but said it had not identified funding for the equipment’s purchase. 

The policy also requires reporting of any complaints related to the use of military equipment, but none were reported during the relevant period. Complaints can be made by calling 831-755-3700. 

The board will vote on final approval for the military use policy and equipment at its meeting on Nov. 28 at 10:30 a.m.

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