On Tuesday, the Antioch City Council voted 4-1 that now bans the police department from acceptance and/or acquisition of Surplus Military Equipment in the future in the City of Antioch.
This item is in response to the February 26 meeting where they discussed police reform and directed staff to proceed with specific measures. The Antioch Police Department can keep and use what it currently has, including its rescue vehicle, but nothing new in the future would be accepted.
According to the resolution:
“Whereas, the Antioch Police Department is an arm of local government whose primary purpose is to protect and serve all Antioch residents and visitors; and
Whereas, the City Council is committed to serving the whole community and its diverse residents, strengthening community ties and developing policy approaches that forge stronger community partnerships; and
Whereas, future acceptance or acquisition of surplus military equipment from Federal government, State government or private entities is not supported by the City Council and, therefore, the Antioch Police Department will discontinue future procurement of said items effective immediately”
March 23 Council Discussion
Councilmember Mike Barbanica highlighted how in the last 12-months the city has taken over 400 guns off the street and some of the guns were due to criminal investigations, some for safe keeping and some who were in mental crisis.
“We are taking over a gun a day off the streets in this city, with that, this equipment is free to the city number one. And number two, you can’t sell it. The government doesn’t allow you to sell it, its all free equipment” stated Barbanica.
Barbanica argued while the rescue vehicle is talked about, there are other things that the public may not be aware of such as a robot that can deliver a phone if you are negotiating with someone who has a hostage or in mental crisis rather than putting an officers life or a persons life. H
“Some sights for patrol rifles that we didn’t have to go out and buy, they were free. First aid kits, things like that. Range finders to determine distances. Those types of things, that is what we are talking about here,” said Barbanica. “The chief hasn’t gone out and ordered a bunch of weapons and outfitted these officers. This is more safety equipment for these officers and I think by doing this, we are talking the ability away from this chief and future chiefs to make those decisions to keep the officers within the community safe and the community safe as well. I think it’s a mistake.”
Councilwoman Lori Ogorchock asked if they could change this policy to be on a case-by-case basis and not saying “no to none”.
“I would ask we do this on a case-by-case and you have to ask the council,” stated Ogorchock. “I would hate to have a blanket across the board.”
Councilwoman Tamisha Torres-Walker stated the last time we had this conversation she understood the police department had very little military grade equipment
“This says in the future and I think some of us remember the militarization of the police happened on the heals on the war on drugs and the devastation on communities, especially black communities, where the response to that was militarizing law enforcement and be able to steal peoples property and incarcerate people, criminalized people,” stated Torres-Walker. “But then when we have opioid addition becomes a crisis, we do treatment and we invest in that, we don’t militarize those communities because they suffer from an addition and we say its treatment.”
“This says future, if we do our jobs well, we won’t need a militarized police force in the future because we will be getting to the root problem of violence and meeting the needs of the community,” said Torres-Walker. “We are not the only community where hundreds of guns are being taken off the street. That is the result of lack of real enforcement around gun control and gun safety. Most people who acquired these weapons by breaking into your home and stealing your stock piles of guns and that is how this happens.”
She was encouraged by this item and hopes they could stop “tinkering around the edges” and begin working on the root cause of the violence in the community.
Mayor Lamar Thorpe stated officers do not go to the police academy to get trained for military equipment and every job they have to do they are trained to do without military equipment.
“Military equipment is not normal in police departments throughout the country. It is not the standard. Just as school resource officers are not the standard across the nation. Those are unusual aspects of policing” stated Thorpe. “In the past we have chosen to uplift those things, that it fine and we are at a different place now and we are choosing not to move in that direction anymore. I trust our police officers to do their jobs that they were trained to do without military equipment that was never designed for their work. It was designed for people who signed up to join the military and fight wars in foreign lands or here.
The council voted 4-1 on the motion with Barbanica being the dissenting vote.
Note – no questions of the Antioch Police Department were asked during the meeting.
Recap of the February 26 meeting when the council discussed its Demilitarization of Antioch Police:
Demilitarization of Antioch Police
Antioch Mayor Lamar Thorpe called this item straight forward as there is a program within the Federal Government where they can either accept donated decommissioned equipment or purchase military equipment.
“I’ve never believed in that, so my request is that we ban the city from purchasing any further military equipment from the federal government,” stated Thorpe.
Councilmember Mike Barbanica stated he did not want a military force on the street, but said the availability of certain equipment can be helpful. He explained how many people have an issue with the MRAP (armed vehicle) but reminded people how things can escalate quickly such as the shots fired last week where they struck police vehicles and an AMR unit, the vehicle was used several years ago during a hostage situation at ARCO on Contra Loma. It was also used in an incident where an officer was shot in the head and they used to vehicle to pull people safely out of an area.
“I believe they do have an application, unfortunately, in todays society, officers sometimes are in a situation where facing a lot of fire power out there and we’re asking these individuals, these men and women to go into these situation in a very high risk situation, say SWAT call-out or something like that where there are armed individuals and I believe we have a duty to make sure that they and members of the public are protected,” explained Barbanica.
He reiterated he was not militarizing the police department but there were certain applications where they could be used.
Councilmemeber Tamisha Torres-Walker said that the militarization of the police on the streets was a direct stamp on the war on drugs and has devastated black communities and communities of color for decades.
“We should not be at war with our community, we should not be at war with our residents. We should demilitarize our police, stop mismanaging our policing services, put resources where they are necessary so we can make our communities safe,” stated Torres-Walker. “We don’t want to see storm troopers on the ground in our community, we want to see community policing strategies that get at the root cause of violence.”
Councilmember Lori Ogorchock asked the police chief on how important the MRAP and if they paid for any of the equipment.
Chief Tammany Brooks explained all of the items they have received were free and the MRAP had a price tag of $700k and also was free. He said the MRAP is used on high risk search warrants and arrest warrants for people who typically pose a risk due to weapon violations and the knowledge they have as being currently armed and dangerous for crimes such as murder and assault with a deadly weapon. He said the vehicle is used approximately 10-15 times per year.
“The rescue vehicle is not an offensive vehicle. I’ve heard a couple people refer to it as a tank. Its actually on a chassis that’s built also for dump trucks and cement mixes, fire trucks, the body is military grade,” explained Brooks. “Its not a tank. Its not meant for offensive purposes. It provides a high level of ballistic resistance when officers are in situations in which they could face fire from people that we are trying to arrest in those high-risk situations.”
Ogorchock stated she believed the MRAP was very important to the department and they didn’t pay for it. She then asked the mayor to clarify what he was asking.
Thorpe responded by calling the MRAP a tank.
“This tank was designed for improvised explosive devices in Iraq. If that’s what we want on our streets, then I’m happy to discuss that,” Thorpe said.
Ogorchock responded by the chief just stating it wasn’t a tank and was something to be used to keep officers safe.
Mayor Pro Tem Monica Wilson asked for clarification that what they were deciding tonight if they want to have a larger conversation.
Thorpe stated that what they would decide tonight would be to direct staff to come back with a policy that says the city of Antioch will no longer purchase military equipment. But they had the option to expanded it to say the city will no longer use current military equipment, I am more than happy to entertain that too.
“I definitely would like to have a larger conversation than this quick Friday night thing,” Wilson stated.
“Banning the use of military equipment in our city as well as the use of mutual aid, there have been police departments across this country that are providing mutual aid to each other, especially in Contra Costa County, where peaceful protesters, people in the community have been hurt, harmed, and almost killed, through mutual aid efforts” Torres-Walker said. “We should not be using military equipment on our streets or any other streets under mutual aid circumstances. We should definitely ban any purchase or acceptance of free military equipment. We shouldn’t be accepting any of that in our community.”
Torres-Walker asked if they could sell the tank because $700k could go to a lot of youth services as well as the mental health services.
Thorpe asked the council two things:
- To come back with a policy to no longer accept military equipment from federal, state or private.
- Hold a larger discussion around the current use of military equipment Antioch has.
Barbanica stated he believed, “this policy places officers potentially in the future at risk and its wrong.”
Thorpe shot back.
“I’d like to remind folks, military equipment wasn’t design for the local police department, it was designed for the military,” stated Thorpe who then called for the vote.
The council voted 3-2 with Barbanica and Ogorchock dissenting on both items.
Rep. Johnson reintroduces bipartisan bill to de-militarize police
On March 9, Rep. Hank Johnson (GA-04) re-introduced the bipartisan Stop Militarizing Law Enforcement Act of 2021 that would place restrictions and transparency measures on the “1033 program,” which allows the Department of Defense (DOD) to transfer excess military equipment to law enforcement agencies.
The Stop Militarizing Law Enforcement Act would:
- Prevent transfers of equipment inappropriate for local policing, such as military weapons, long-range acoustic devices, grenade launchers, weaponized drones, armored military vehicles, and grenades or similar explosives.
- Require that recipients certify that they can account for all military weapons and equipment. In 2012, the weapons portion of the 1033 program was temporarily suspended after DOD found that a local sheriff gifted out army-surplus Humvees and other supplies. This bill would prohibit re-gifting and require recipients to account for all DOD weapons and equipment.
- The bill adds requirements to enforce tracking mechanisms that keep up with and control transfers of the equipment, implements policies ensuring that police agencies can’t surplus the equipment for resale, and defines drones more clearly.
For a copy of the bill, click HERE.
A poor decision based solely on politics. A SENSIBLE policy would be that any such acquisitions (some of which can be very useful) are subject to the review and approval of the council on a case-by-case basis. THAT would make sense. Hopefully, a future council will reverse this silliness.
We are so screwed
I’m sure the good people of Antioch feel much safer now. In fact, I can’t see why the police don’t turn in all their firearms and ammunition. After all, it sends the wrong message. It’s hard to believe there are actually city leaders like this and a willing population that continues to vote them in year after year.
Let’s look into a recall on these clowns. Enough of this shit. Antioch is the next Oakland. What a dump hole. The mayor and most of the city council are saying it’s open season on the law abiding and criminals are getting a key to the city
All I would like to know is when are they going to open up the bids for the cool lookin vehicle? It should be a public sale, there are no weapons on it. It would make an awesome homeless off road camper RV.
These people have to go! They are endangering Antioch residents as well as our law enforcement! This is very serious!
Well you guys have a good chief, but because of the city council He’s not gonna be there much longer…… he’s got a house being built in another state and I feel sorry for that city once he leaves soon. If I were on the council I would rethink the way they are punishing the police department.
They are punishing the people of Antioch by making the city even more unsafe. I am truly shocked that Mike Barbanica voted with the three stooges! I voted for him and now I’m regretting it. Ogorchock is the only one with any sense and concern for our city. We were doing just fine until the late 1960’s and on when criminals and their supporters started moving here. I was a kid then! Now, we get THIS!
How in the world does Council person Walker speak and vote on things that have to do with the police. It is ILLEGAL. RECALL RECALL RECALL. We as a city are the punchline in more bad jokes than I can repeat. Embarrassingly Walker and Thorpe are the new faces of Antioch. And dont play the racists card on me cause Im one shade away if Your talking about the color of the skin. Which I am not. Im talking about Integrity, Ethics, Character, Common sense and Common Courtesy .
Since December I haven’t seen any of that from Walker or Thorpe.
Our APD was offered free government equipment which makes our officers safer from criminal onslaughter, so what do these city “leaders” do? Crap on us and the police! This is unacceptable! Unfortunately, the same thing that happened in Boulder, can happen here. Boulder is known for having very little (if any) crime. Antioch is the opposite. Yet, Boulder had proper equipment to protect it’s PD, except the one who was killed. This bunch in city hall is shameful! The 3 should be recalled and the arsonist/felon should never have been seated in the first place as she was elected illegally.
God help us if Thorpe and Walker are the new faces of anyplace! I went out to run some errands and people are really pissed off and livid over what these jokers are doing to Antioch! Walker doesn’t even need a RECALL because she should not be on the Council in the first place. The police should BARR her from the site. Actually, the police need to arrest her.
Loraine G – reread the article . Mike was the lone dissenter on the 4-1 vote. Ogorchock went with the majority
Antioch City Council members continue to make poor decisions and Antioch citizens are paying the price for their ignorant political bull crap. Maybe if Antioch was a safer city, the idea of declining military items for police use would be a good idea. However Antioch is FAR from safe. Thorpe and Torres-Walker need to go and take their anti- police agenda with them.
How did these “winners” wind up here in the first place? How could people with half-a-brain even remotely consider voting for them.? Just because they were caught by the police and made to answer for their crimes (felonies), doesn’t mean the rest of us were in the same predicament. Of course, they are bitter! Who can blame them? THEY GOT CAUGHT! The Walker woman doesn’t belong on any City Council of any town. This so-called mayor is a total ignoramus. We deserve smart and knowledgeable people on the Council. I feel so sorry for Chief Brooks and his dedicated officers. This is not good!
Two of those vehicles currently in use now on highway 84 shooting after robbery today; Pittsburg Police used theirs for hostage call this week. I think Council should reconsider. Scary weapon on highway 84. How about some cameras at Somersville and Buchanan?
I’ve never seen people as angry! This is a blow to our public safety if there ever was one. We will lose our dedicated Chief of Police Brooks who will not put up with his people being put in mortal danger! There jerks came here from God only knows where and brought cheering section with them, These are NOT Antioch people! Now, when things get worse as they will, guess who will be the first ones to bitch and bellyache that they do not feel safe? Look at how many shootings we have had since the first of the year!
When is this madness going to end?!
Mike Barbanica for MAYOR
ECT / Question for you? Is councilman Walker breaking a law by being on the council as a convicted felon? Yes or No
I’m very disappointed in Mike Barbanica. Him being a former cop? It’s quite puzzling.
Martin MNM…Please reread the article. Mike Barbanica was the only no vote on this. He is supporting the police and community.
BACK THE BLUE — Sorry, I transposed the names! My mistake! I’m really disappointed in Lori Ogorchock. I wonder if someone got to her? Could happen, you know!
Nick P — That is not a question to pose to ECT, but to a lawyer who is knowledgeable about the subject. I’ve researched some of this and there are specific crimes listed which is keeping felons from running for political office in California: Buying votes, bribery, perjury, forgery, malfeasance in office, embezzlement of public funds, falsification of public records and OTHER “HIGH CRIMES” …….. and ARSON is one of those. The person running must disclose this information EVEN IF IT HAS BEEN EXPUNGED by the courts. ARSON cannot be expunged. So, Walker is breaking the law and should have been stopped and kicked out last November.
I’ll answer for them. YES. AB 2410
The answer is “YES” to your question, Nick P. I checked with my uncle who is a lawyer specializing in election fraud.
May I ask a question?
If the Mayor is the only person that can fire the City Manager.
Who is responsible for overseeing the City Attorney?
Tamisha Torres-Walker should be immediately removed from the Antioch City Council.
DONNA SALAZAR — I’ll send my uncle an email asking that question.
WAIT , Bare with me Here….
1) Walker won her council position barely
2) Walker Post a 9min Verbally Abusive Live feed Attacking the Antioch Police Department. Profanities and threats to sue Antioch & take Officers Badges.
She admits her children Ran from Police
She states she doesn’t give a f__k about being on the city council. Threats to organise protests and burn the city down.
3) Walker and her minions try to control social media and the local news. To confuse and cover up the facts of the incident.
4) Publicly Walker refuses to apologize to Citizens of Antioch and the police department.
5) She continues to weigh in on important issues that involve the Antioch Police Department.
6) The investigations the she her self demanded Reveal Walker did not disclose
her conviction of felony Arson and two DUI’s with child endangerment enhancements
7) Walker’s omission of her criminal record before her running for City Council
Makes her win and occupation of the city council AGAINST THE LAW AND SUBJECT FOR IMMEDIATE DISMISSAL.
Ms. Walker-Torres as I said before I am Old Antioch your constant lack of remorse and accountability for your December live feed .
Your laughing and making cry baby signs during comment by long time residents comments has made me so angry.
Downing Old time resident’s and calling us racists and hate mongers.
How dare you. Let me say this in a form you can understand. ( Stop Reading if Profanity offends you )
Ms. Walker-Torres You enjoy your strolls in my neighborhood? Ya I saw you caught you sneaking around trying to see what Im about. I’ll tell you Im about taking care of those I Love. Im about helping my community. Im about cleaning out all the garbage in the river and town. Most of all
Im about Sick of You. You take your ghetto mentality grab some class and get off the Antioch City Council until you learn some manners and how to play fair. If I experience a accidental hardship or attack YOU will be the first place they’ll look at.
Play Fair Keep my name out of your mouth and I’ll do the same. After you step down.
I see that Rep. HANK JOHNSON (D-Georgia) is mentioned here. Isn’t that the genius who said that GUAM will capsize and flip over into the ocean some years ago? And this guy used to be a judge? Amazing!
Donna Salazar – Got a response from my uncle. The city attorney is either elected or appointed by a combination of mayor, city council and the city manager. He can be either recalled (if elected) or dismissed by any of those entities. Most of the time it’s done by the city manager.
The APD isn’t “procuring” anything. They are GIVEN the safety equipment FREE of charge! It’s very impolite to refuse a gift when one is offered and we sure need that gift. Even police department in much smaller cities have those. We need a few of them here in Antioch, for starters.
I remember watching Hank Johnson stating that in front of some committee and the people questioning him had to really work very hard NOT to laugh . . . The guy is a total ignoramus, but then . . what do you expect?
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