This week, Senator Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley) introduced language for SB 1421 which will make law enforcement records related to officer use of force, or on the job sexual assault or dishonesty available to hiring agencies and the public.
“Building trust between police and communities has to start with transparency,” said Skinner. “SB 1421 ensures that when officers use serious or deadly force, engage in sexual assault or are dishonest in carrying out their duties, the public is informed.”
California’s existing confidentiality rules about police conduct, which SB 1421 would modify, are among the most secretive in the country. Under existing law, the public and hiring agencies do not have access to substantiated reports of officer misconduct. These restrictions erode public trust, and can allow officers with repeated incidents of serious misconduct to bounce from agency-to-agency, undetected.
SB 1421 allows, with limited exceptions, for release of records related to specified incidents involving law enforcement use of force, as well as records related to investigations that result in sustained findings of on-the-job sexual assault or intentional job-related dishonesty.
Specifically, SB 1421 would require law enforcement agencies to give the public access to records related to:
1. Discharge of a firearm, or use force that results in death or serious bodily injury.
2. On the job sexual assault, including coercion or exchanging sex for lenience, or
3. Dishonesty in reporting, investigating, or prosecuting a crime.
“The vast majority of our law enforcement officers have excellent records,” said Skinner. “SB 1421 will help us hold accountable the few bad actors and build greater community trust in law enforcement.”
Senator Nancy Skinner (@NancySkinnerCA) represents the 9th Senate District. She serves as Chair of the Senate Public Safety Committee and the Budget Subcommittee on Corrections, Public Safety and the Judiciary.
As a member within the profession, I agree with the proposed language. However, I highly doubt it will stop the flow of bad apples into the career.
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