SACRAMENTO - As a law enforcement association that represents peace officers whose sworn duties are to protect the public from harm, the California Statewide Law Enforcement Association hears the sentiment being expressed by demonstrators throughout the country and recognizes the need for our peace officers to have the trust of the citizens they serve.
"When an officer acts in a reprehensible way, that conduct does not reflect the standards of our profession or the oath we took to serve and protect," said CSLEA President Alan Barcelona. "Now is the time to work together as a nation to set clear goals for uses of force and peace officer training. Goals that keep our communities, citizens and officers, safe."
Last year, California took two very positive steps toward policing and protecting communities by passing SB 230 and AB 392.
SB 230 and AB 392:
· Redefine lethal force by a peace officer as only justifiable when necessary in defense of human life.
· Mandate that every California law enforcement officer receive the most vigorous training in the nation strictly designed to minimize the use of force.
· Require every law enforcement officer to adhere to specific, publicly available guidelines for when they are authorized to use force.
· Establish specific policies across all law enforcement departments requiring de-escalation, an officer's duty to intercede, rendering medical aid, proportional use of force and more.
· Set forth and standardize detailed requirements for reporting all instances when force is used.
· Specify that use of force policies and training are considered in legal proceedings.
"SB 230 and AB 392 are constructive pieces of legislation that are the result of many months of intense input by leaders representing law enforcement, civil rights groups, lawmakers, as well as California's attorney general," said CSLEA President Barcelona. "This legislation can serve as the basis for a national standard for uses of force and for the peace officer profession."
In addition to supporting a national standard for peace officer uses of force, CSLEA supports a national database of police misconduct which seeks to eliminate officers who have a history of proven misconduct from moving from one department to the next, masking bad and unacceptable behavior. CSLEA also stands in support of evaluating the elimination of the carotid restraint and any other maneuver designed to, or may foreseeably result in, cutting off blood or oxygen to a subject's head, unless it becomes a last-resort use-of-force in which an officer has no other possible means of surviving a life-threatening situation.
CSLEA represents nearly 7,000 law enforcement, public safety and consumer protection professionals who work for the state of California, including California Department of Justice special agents, State Parks rangers, Fish and Wildlife wardens, Department of State Hospitals police officers, as well investigators, detectives, and peace officer-firefighters at various state departments.
"We are very proud of our members and appreciate that they are performing their law enforcement duties during an extremely stressful time in our state and country," said Barcelona. "We are proud of our profession to protect and serve, thank those who have shown their support for law enforcement, and we are listening to those who seek change."
CSLEA supports the first amendment right to march and peacefully protest but denounces criminal acts of violence and destruction.