The Long Beach City Council will vote Tuesday, Dec. 19 on the Long Beach Police Department’s military weapons plan, which includes an inventory of militarized items the department has and proposed additions to the department’s arsenal.

LBPD and other police departments have used militarized equipment for years, but it wasn’t until last year that the public was able to get a peek at all the weapons, armored vehicles and robotics the department has at its disposal.

That’s because a new state law was adopted in 2021 requires City Councils across the state to begin overseeing law enforcement agencies’ rules governing military-style equipment. Under the law, agencies must produce an annual public report inventorying their military equipment and explaining how it is used.

On Tuesday night, the City Council will be asked to approve the LBPD’s most recent report and lift a restriction that limited how much new equipment the department could order in a given year.

Currently, the department is allowed to buy a total of only 15% of what’s already in its stock before having to seek new approval from the City Council. This could prevent the department’s military equipment inventory from rapidly expanding, but it also limits how many replacement items or consumables — like ammunition — it can buy.

Lifting the limit, “will allow the department to maintain operations by replenishing frequently used consumable items, items that are nearing the end of useful life, and damaged equipment that has been previously approved by the City Council,” LBPD Chief Wally Hebeish wrote in a letter to the council.

Hebeish said in his memo that last year the department used its military equipment a total of 51 times with the bulk of the usage coming when dealing with barricaded suspects, while serving search warrants or apprehending a suspect.

Here are some of the things included in this year’s request:

Less-lethal rounds

In recent years, the LBPD and other departments have added weapons called 40mm launchers to their inventory. Instead of traditional bullets, the launchers shoot large foam projectiles that are designed to strike someone at high speed but not permanently injure or kill.

The department has about 200 of these launchers, and it’s requesting over 8,400 rounds of the foam projectiles that vary in the distance they’re intended to travel and how they’re supposed to be used.

The department’s report says only officers who have undergone the necessary training are allowed to shoot the foam projectiles. The rounds are meant to be used when officers encounter dangerous or combative individuals, potentially vicious animals or riotous crowds, among other things.

The LBPD also wants 800 60-caliber rubber ball rounds, which can also be fired out of the 40mm launchers. According to Defense Technology, one of the producers of the rubber-ball rounds, they are “suitable for administering a means of pain compliance over a greater distance” than other similar rounds. They’re typically used to control large crowds.

LBPD is also seeking over 700 rounds of projectiles that deliver tear gas and pepper spray. Some of the rounds are typical canisters that release gas when fired into crowds or into buildings, but some are combined with a foam projectile.


Long Beach police already have a variety of military-grade robots and other devices they use for surveillance. They include a remote-controlled diving robot that is rated up to 300 meters and its “Mobile Eye,” an armored vehicle that can be parked at a “problem location” to conduct surveillance for several days without anyone inside.

The LBPD also has a handful of unmanned aircraft, more commonly referred to as drones, in its inventory, but it’s asking the City Council to approve purchasing two more at a projected cost of over $59,000.

The models being sought by the department are from DJI Enterprise and can be equipped with things like high-definition or thermal imaging cameras.

The LBPD’s report says they’re deployed to help officers with major traffic collision investigations, search for a missing person, crime scene photography, and SWAT and tactical usage.

They can provide a look inside buildings without having to put officers at risk, the report said and can be used for pre-operational surveillance.

New SWAT rifles  

When the LBPD first revealed its military weapons inventory in early 2022, it showed a sizable cache of high-powered rifles, including several dozen AR-15s.

The most powerful rifle the LBPD has is a .50 caliber sniper rifle that’s intended to be used to stop a moving vehicle if needed. It also has two M240B 7.6251mm NATO rifles, which are classified as medium machine guns typically used in the battlefield by U.S. soldiers.

These weapons are listed in the Field Support Division’s inventory, which includes the department’s SWAT team.

This year, the department is asking for the council to approve the use of 40 MK111 Mod 2-M SBR Rifles to replace similar rifles previously used by the department’s SWAT team. Both versions fire a .223 caliber round. The department’s description of the rifle says it’s the standard-issue SWAT rifle.

The previous standard-issue rifle was described as less powerful than a standard rifle but more powerful than a handgun with greater accuracy.

“The requested equipment will give a trained officer better control inside structures, with greater accuracy than a handgun,” Hebeish said in his memo.

The new rifles are estimated to cost $1,800 each.

Jason Ruiz covers City Hall and politics for the Long Beach Post. Reach him at [email protected] or @JasonRuiz_LB on Twitter.