Chico’s police chief and de-escalation Aldridge defends use of weapons obtained from military

by George Gold
guest commentary posted May 2

The Chico City Council approved the police department budget and use of military weapons earlier in April 2023, weapons that were obtained under the U.S. Department of Defense 1033 program.

Recent California statutes require the police department hold at least one community engagement meeting to discuss the purchase and deployment of these military-style weapons.

During the only “meet the community” on April 27, which was called to review the Chico Police Department’s use of military obtained weapons in Chico, Police Chief Billy Aldridge repeatedly called the use of these weapons a way to de-escalate a given situation.

photo by Leslie Layton
Billy Aldridge

With a lengthy recitation by the chief, recounting a huge array of military weapons, like unmanned Drones, Armored Rescue Vehicles, a variety of so called Kinetic Energy Launchers, many kinds of rifles (automatic weapons), a Remington 870, a battering ram known as kinetic KBT 3-1000, the chief repeatedly described each of these weapons as a tool to de-escalate a given situation.


“De-escalation refers to the range of verbal and nonverbal skills used to slow down the sequence of events, enhance situational awareness, conduct proper threat assessments, and allow for better decision-making to reduce the likelihood that a situation will escalate into a physical confrontation or injury and to ensure the safest possible outcomes.”

De-escalation is a non-weapons, verbal approach to policing. To say that breaking down the door of a house, or pointing a Sionics .223 rifle at someone is a de-escalation technique is ridiculous. The proper definition of de-escalation is accepted by police departments across our country.

Trying to change the definition and process of what de-escalation is and should be is just doublespeak and will not fool anyone.

George Gold

George Gold is a Chico resident, police reform activist and a contributor to ChicoSol.

2 thoughts on “Chico’s police chief and de-escalation Aldridge defends use of weapons obtained from military

  1. Mr. Billy Aldridge,

    Congratulations on becoming the Chief of Police for Butte County. I am grateful to know that an honest Man became the Chief of Police. Congratulations and God Bless.

    Caroline Preston Carter
    Chico, CA

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