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Redwood City Council approves purchase and use of military equipment in Police Department

The City Council authorized the use and purchase of military equipment in Redwood City for the city's Police Department.
The City Council authorized the use and purchase of military equipment in Redwood City for the city's Police Department.

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With 6 votes in favor and one against, the Redwood City Council authorized the use and purchase of military equipment for the city's Police Department, with the purpose of helping to de-escalate critical incidents and support the safety of agents and the community.

During its regular meeting held this Monday, April 15, the Council approved the purchase of 6 drones, a Hyperspike long-range acoustic firing device, five 4-shot 40mm tactical launchers, as well as a kinetic door opening tool.

Sergeant Jesse Castro, of the Redwood City Police Department (RCPD, for its acronym in English), made the presentation, where he specified that all of these tools improve the department's ability to de-escalate critical incidents and resolve them peacefully, with little or no use of force.

In his presentation, he specified that to purchase the new equipment that the Police Department needs, it is not necessary to take additional funds from the budget, and rather it is planned to use funds from the citizen option for the police security program.

He noted that the planned articles highlight the department's commitment to the evolution and adaptation of law enforcement and the needs of the community.

"These tools are not mere acquisitions, they represent our dedication to improving de-escalation techniques, supporting the safety of agents and the community, taking advantage of technological advances to improve overall operational effectiveness," he stressed.

"It is imperative that the department continues to be equipped with the resources necessary to address critical incidents quickly and effectively, while prioritizing the safety of both our officers and the community we serve," added Sergeant Casto. .

In that sense, he explained that, through strategic investments and advanced equipment and technologies, agents can better fulfill their duty to protect and serve the Redwood City community.

The incorporation of the 40mm 4-projectile tactical launcher as an additional tool, he explained, provides several notable advantages to the department's less lethal capabilities, since being a de-escalation tool, it provides an additional less lethal option and allows rapid deployment. 

He highlighted that this device has a launch range of up to 131 feet and allows safe distances during confrontations, in addition to having a lightweight design, and its 4 multiple shot capacity increases tactical options, making it a complementary tool along with the existing individual 40mm launchers.

The total cost of five of these launchers will be $9,500.

When talking about the Hyperspike long-range acoustic firing device, he assured that this is a powerful and effective means of communication that can project clear and intelligible messages over long distances, which will allow law enforcement officers to communicate with people in critical incidents or in emergencies, such as hostage situations, public safety announcements, and search and rescue operations. This will cost $3,750.

In the case of drones, he stressed, they have the capacity to improve almost all aspects of law enforcement, as they can be used to photograph or video record the crime scene and the scene of the collision; crime scene and collision mapping; They can be used to support a bomb squad in tasks such as robotic device surveillance, detonation, confirmation and gas and chemical detection.

In turn, he said, they can be used for pre-operation surveillance, internal integration, monitoring or observation of clean suspects; for mass gathering events they can help with situational awareness, traffic safety, public threats; For response patrols can assist in tracking fleeing suspects, searching for a missing person, building and high risk searches and high security risk incidents. 

They also offer various features such as live video streaming options, still image recording and capture, and thermal images. The total cost of the 6 drones (4 exterior and 2 interior) will be 87 thousand dollars. 

He pointed out that these drones will also serve the city's Fire Department.

Finally, the kinetic door opening tool is a safer alternative, since it does not launch a projectile. 

He stressed that the ramming surface is narrow enough to focus on a single hinge, but powerful enough to breach steel security doors. This will cost 15 thousand dollars.

Public comments regarding the use and purchase of this military equipment were entirely in favor. The councilors who voted in favor were Mayor Jeff Gee, Councilors Alicia C. Aguirre, Kaia Eakin, and Diane Howard, as well as Councilors Elmer Martínez Saballos and Chris Sturken. The vote against was Vice Mayor Lissette Espinoza Garnica.

You may be interested in: San Mateo County supervisors decide how to allocate $35.5 M in vital areas

Pamela Cruz
Pamela Cruz
Editor-in-Chief of Peninsula 360 Press. A communicologist by profession, but a journalist and writer by conviction, with more than 10 years of media experience. Specialized in medical and scientific journalism at Harvard and winner of the International Visitors Leadership Program scholarship from the U.S. government.

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