SACRAMENTO - On February 25, 2015, Senator Kathleen Galgiani introduced Senate Bill 448, a bill sponsored and supported by the California Statewide Law Enforcement Association.
"SB 448 would authorize many of CSLEA's peace officer members to record conversations with the public just as the vast majority of other peace officer groups do, like police officers and sheriff's deputies," said CSLEA President Alan Barcelona. "As everyone knows, cities, counties and the Highway Patrol are moving toward the use of body cameras which promotes transparency. SB 448 paves the way for any future use of body cameras for the various law enforcement departments within the State. When the various departments decide to go with body cameras, SB 448 means they're good to go. SB 448 would extend that authorization to include, among others, any peace officer of the Department of Fish and Wildlife, the Department of Parks and Recreation, the Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control, the California Exposition and State Fair, State Investigators at the various State departments and State Hospital Police Officers and Peace Officer I's."
Under existing law, recording a conversation without express permission of the party being recorded is generally considered wire-tapping and prohibited. The current law provides an exception for a select, but vast, majority of peace officers in California. The peace officers who would gain the authority to record conversations from SB 448 face many of the same situations that those peace officers who currently have this authority, face.
"SB 448 promotes transparency for interactions between the public and California's peace officers. We already know the value of recordings in resolving issues out on the street and in a courtroom," Barcelona said. "We thank Senator Galgiani for introducing this very important bill."