A Long Beach Police Department (LBPD) SWAT vehicle leaves the scene of a suspect search at 56th Street and Lime Avenue on Jan. 8, 2018. Photo by Jeremiah Dobruck.
File photo of a Long Beach Police Department SWAT vehicle.

The Long Beach Police Department on Friday released an inventory of its military-style equipment in preparation for a public hearing where City Council members will weigh in on how and when the weapons, vehicles and other items should be used.

Under a new state law, AB 481, the City Council must approve the LBPD’s policy on how it uses and acquires tools like flashbangs, high-powered rifles, armored trucks and other equipment typically reserved for the armed forces.

To comply with that law, the LBPD last week published a new policy on how it plans to handle military gear, along with a comprehensive inventory of its current arsenal.

It shows the department already has—among other equipment—three armored trucks, several drones and robots, and 125 high-powered rifles meant to be used in various situations, such as confronting hostile suspects at a distance or allowing SWAT officers to fire sniper rounds from afar.

Two of the most powerful weapons are a Barrett .50 caliber sniper rifle—intended to be used to stop a moving vehicle when no other options are available—and two FN America M240B 7.62x51mm NATO rifles, which are “medium machine guns” primarily used by U.S. soldiers in battlefields like those in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to the manufacturer. The LBPD’s inventory doesn’t say how it uses the machine guns.

Last year, the ACLU released a national accounting of military equipment held by police departments. It found that departments across the country possess more than 60,000 military-style rifles and 1,500 combat vehicles and tanks.

The inventory released by the LBPD last week includes the prices for each piece of equipment and some details on their intended purpose. It’s unclear, however, how often they’ve been used and in what real-world situations.

A spokesman for the LBPD referred questions to an email address specifically set up for inquiries about the equipment. The department hadn’t yet responded to questions emailed on Friday.

Long Beach police posted the inventory and proposed policy as they seek City Council approval to continue using the military gear. AB 481 required police departments to begin that process no later than this month, but it’s unclear when the Long Beach City Council might take up the issue. The law says it must be at least 30 days after police departments provide their proposed policy and list of gear on a public-facing website.

The LBPD’s full policy is available here. It also lists the following military equipment already in the LBPD’s possession:

  • One semi-automatic Barrett .50 caliber sniper rifle, Model 82A1M. The LBPD inventory states that this rifle “is reserved for disabling a vehicle in incidents where lethal force is justified, and no other reasonable means exist to stop the vehicle to protect innocent life.” Though this rifle has a cost of $8,500, it was apparently donated to the LBPD, according to the inventory.

  • Two FN America M240B 7.62x51mm NATO rifles ($8,600 each). Considered by the manufacturer to be a “medium machine gun,” this rifle was used extensively by U.S. combat forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. “This weapon’s high volume of fire makes it the principal suppressive fire instrument for the infantry platoon and company,” according to FN America’s website.

  • Four LWRC REPR .308 caliber rifles used by SWAT snipers ($4,500 each).

  • 40 LWRCI SWAT Operator Package IC DI 10.5″ rifles (2,470 each). The LBPD inventory states that this is a short-barreled rifle that allows officers “better control inside of structures with greater accuracy than a handgun.”

  • 73 AR-15 rifles ($1,650 each) and 4,900 Winchester .223 55gr Ballistic Silvertip rounds ($.68 each). The rifles give “officers the ability to engage hostile suspects at distances generally greater than the effective distance of their handguns,” according to the inventory.

  • Five AR-10 .308 semi-automatic rifles ($4,500 each).

  • 400 rounds of Hornady .308 Caliber Ammunition, 168gr ELD TAP ($1.25 per round), 3,000 rounds of Winchester .223 Ammunition, 55gr FMJ ($.20 per round) and 2,500 rounds of Winchester .308 Ammunition, 147gr FMJ ($.91 per round).

  • 203 40mm Defense Technology single-shot launchers ($1,000 each), 5,870 40mm exact impact foam projectiles ($18 each), 48 40mm extended range direct impact rounds ($18 each) and 44 40mm aerial warning/signaling rounds ($44 each), which “deliver 170 dB of sound and 5 million candelas of light, noticeable in day or night conditions,” according to the inventory.

  • Six Penn Arms 40mm, multi-shot launchers ($2,250 each).

  • 60 Defense Technology, Triple-Chaser Separating tear gas canisters ($52 each)

  • 162 Defense Technology Tri-Chamber Flameless CS grenades ($45 each), which “can be used in crowd control as well as tactical deployment situations by law enforcement,” according to the inventory.

  • 150 Defense Technology 40mm Direct Impact crushable foam projectiles that also deliver five grams of pepper spray ($30 each).

  • 60 Defense Technology Stinger rubber balls ($53 each).

  • 29 Defense Technology smoke grenades ($38 each).

  • 350 Defense Technology 40mm ferret rounds containing CS gas ($23 per round).

  • One Lenco Bear G1 armored vehicle ($289,000). The high ground clearance and robust suspension allows for an “emergency response to almost any situation,” according to the inventory.

  • One Lenco Bearcat G1 armored vehicle ($225,000).

  • One Lenco Bearcat G2 armored vehicle ($325,682).

  • One armored Suburban ($90,000).

  • 750 feet of pentrite detonating cord, which is suitable for detonating high explosives, according to the inventory ($1 per foot).

  • 50 blasting caps ($12 each).

  • Five Royal Remington 870 Express Breaching Shotguns, used by breaching teams to destroy deadbolts, locks and hinges ($500 each) and 201 Royal Arms TESAR-2 breaching rounds ($5 per round).

  • 16 ATN infrared and thermal-vision goggles, used by SWAT teams in low-vision conditions ($2,570 each)

  • 72 Defense Technology Model 8902 Distraction Devices that produce a “loud bang with a bright light,” according to the inventory ($90 each).

  • One Northrop Grumman Andros F6A robot, used “to remotely gain visual/audio data, deliver Hostage Negotiation Team phone, open doors, and clear buildings,” according to the inventory ($100,000).

  • Two Robotex Avatar 3 robots ($25,000 plus $35,000 for robotic arm), which are used the same types of situations as the Andros, according to the inventory.

  • Four DJI Technology unmanned aerial vehicles used for “search and rescue, pre- operational surveillance, and other tactical situations where aerial views enhance the safety and efficiency of law enforcement,” states the inventory ($15,000 total)

  • Two Sky Hero LOKI 2 unmanned aerial vehicles, primarily used by SWAT personnel “to assist in operations in the interior of structures,” according to the inventory ($10,000 each).

  • One Seabotix LBV-300-5 Remote Operated Vehicle at ocean depths up to 300 meters to clear vessel hulls and docks as well as look for evidence, according to the inventory ($70,000).

  • One Maritime Emergency Operations Center vehicle used as a mobile command post ($800,000 in 2012, then retrofitted in 2021 for $175,000).

The inventory also included an accounting of military ammunition kept in storage:

  • 10,400 rounds of Hornady .308 Caliber Ammunition, 168gr ELD TAP ($1.25 per round).

  • 400 rounds of Hornady 5.56 Ammunition, 55gr Urban ($.85 per round).

  • 215,000 rounds of Winchester .223 Ammunition, 55gr FMJ ($.20 per round).

  • 66,800 rounds of Winchester .223 Ammunition 55gr Ballistic Silvertip ammunition ($.68 per round).

  • 7,000 rounds of Winchester .223 Ammunition, 64 gr Bonded ammunition ($.51 per round).

  • 65,000 rounds of Winchester .223 Ammunition 55gr frangible SF ammunition ($.56 per round).

  • 10,500 rounds of Winchester .308 Ammunition, 147gr FMJ ammunition ($.91 per round).

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Anthony Pignataro is an investigative reporter and editor for the Long Beach Post. He has close to three decades of experience in journalism leading numerous investigations and long-form journalism projects for the OC Weekly and other publications. He joined the Post in May 2021.