Home California Police Chiefs’ President Responds to Newspapers Releasing Report on Officer Misconduct

Police Chiefs’ President Responds to Newspapers Releasing Report on Officer Misconduct

by ECT

A statement by Chief Ronald Lawrence, CPCA President

As police chiefs, it is our sworn responsibility to protect the public, which includes holding our own officers accountable for their conduct. There are few responsibilities police chiefs take as serious as addressing officer misconduct and is one of the reasons the California Police Chief Association (CPCA) supported SB 1421 (Skinner), which allowed for the release of these files. Despite the burden created by SB 1421, CPCA felt it in the best interest of the public to allow the information published by these newspapers today to be available. However, the report released by this news group sensationalizes certain aspects and specific instances with a mountain of data, while failing to mention critical nuances that help paint a complete picture and account for our laws and due process rightfully afforded to each officer. 

First, the report shows, as we anticipated it would, that only a very small portion of officers commit crimes. The report cites 630 cases in the last decade; with almost 80,000 current officers in California – and when factoring in the vast number of new recruits during that decade – this represents an extremely tiny fraction of the men and women who protect our streets every day, no more than 0.0079%. This report also shows our chiefs hold officers accountable, with 80% of these reported cases resulting in the officer being fired. However, accountability does not mean we refuse every officer an opportunity for redemption, and statistics cannot measure the facts of each case.

Some cases warrant permanent dismissal – which our laws and policies already dictate, and we enforce on a consistent basis – while other instances may warrant lessor discipline than termination. Our criminal justice system, for both the public and peace officers, must offer due process as well as pathways for an individual to accept accountability and correct their mistakes. If an officer’s actions were for less than termination causes, there are means to still hold them accountable and ensure the behavior changes. For those who are deserving and willing to embrace accountability and retraining, there must be a way to retain experienced, well-trained officers in an environment that is already difficult to recruit new hires.

Finally, due process in all employment cases is an important element, which often includes arbitrators and legal representatives, and that must be a part of this discussion. These decisions are always complex and require depth in understanding how our laws resulted in each specific outcome. 

It is unfortunate that authors of this article failed to mention any of the comments CPCA directly offered to those who conducted the research behind this report, as the end result fails to capture the critical nuances outlined above. Regardless, as has always been our position in the past, CPCA is poised and ready to address any actual issues that may present themselves through the disclosure of this information. At the same time, we stand firmly against any narrative that attempts to destructively paint our profession with one broad brush or take these cases out of context.

Police work is an incredibly difficult job. We need good peace officers to protect our society from those who would do our communities harm, and we must support our law enforcement professionals in an incredibly dangerous and complex profession.             

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Sad Sad State Nov 10, 2019 - 8:32 pm

I would have never thought in a million years the release of this information would be smeared and manipulated, lol.

I support all 1st responders, sad time to see how little support they have. This new society rather sell misinformation rather than facts. I went on a ride a long due to my own beliefs that were building based on these inaccurate stories. What I learned was how difficult it actually is and how many people are running around our communities with little regard for hard working folks or the law.

The current laws and democratic elected garbage has literally made half the things people do, infractions, at best. SF just swore in a Public Deffender as their new District Attorney? Expect more folks shitting in the street and drugs being shot between their toes. Travesty!

George Mathews Nov 12, 2019 - 12:03 pm

Not supporting bad cops is important. Just because they’re cops doe not make omnipotent. They must be held to a higher standard than the rest of us. DUIs and domestic violence raps should get them to forfeit their jobs. Those people have NO business in a place of authority

Richard Nov 10, 2019 - 8:38 pm

I read the article in Sunday’s EAST BAY TIMES and, other than some cops not being as gallant as they should in their personal lives (which should be handled), I don’t think the police are TOUGH ENOUGH with the criminal elements in our country.

George Mathews Nov 12, 2019 - 7:25 am

Gallant??? Domestic violence cannot be excused. EVER!! DUIs are unacceptable. They must be held to a higher standard than you and I

George Mathews Nov 12, 2019 - 7:23 am

Notice the chiefs don’t have anything to say about the number of officers who have DUis or domestic violence records still being employed as protectors of the public. The number should be ZERO! No excuses. Police officers must be held to a higher standard

Catt Nov 12, 2019 - 2:01 pm

Always interesting to see someone who says others should be held to a higher standard then themselves. What a hypocrite. By the way if an employee claims they are an alcoholic that is a disease and they cannot be fired without chances for rehab etc. Many employees are on contracts that have given them second chances because they were arrested off duty for dui. The agreements indicate that they may have to be tested for BAC each day before they start their shift, they keep a valid drivers license and they not consume alcohol. This article was a hit piece with no balance, what a shocker many misdemeanors committed by cops get plea bargained……now theres news because no else gets a plea deal in CA.

Sad Sad State Nov 12, 2019 - 5:35 pm

Nobody else gets plea deals????? Wow do your homework pleeeeease. More like nobody in this county gets charged!!!!

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