By CSLEA Legislative Advocates Shane LaVigne and Jennifer Roe, Capitol Advocacy
At the beginning of the year, in the California Legislature, more than 20 bills impacting the law enforcement profession were introduced and on September 30, 2021, Governor Gavin Newsom signed into law several of those bills that made it to his desk.
Of note, we’re happy to announce CSLEA-sponsored legislation, AB 483, to classify the Museum Security Officers at the California Science Center as peace officers was signed. AB 483 and other bills signed by the Governor are discussed in greater detail below.
AB 483 authored by Assemblymember Reginald Jones-Sawyer codifies an agreement made in CSLEA’s 2019 MOU to reclassify the Museum Security Officers at the California Science Center as peace officers – a much needed change to ensure CSLEA members at the California Science Center have full peace officer authority. Congratulations to the MSO’s and thank you to Sergeant Ken Williams for his expert testimony during the Senate Public Safety Committee hearing earlier this year.
SB 2, the most significant change to the police profession, authored by Senator Steve Bradford, was enacted. SB 2 creates a process for the Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) to investigate and determine the fitness of a person to be a peace officer and to decertify peace officers who are found to have engaged in “serious misconduct”. We will continue to work with CSLEA and POST on implementation of the certification process and some of the issues that still remain to ensure a fair process.
AB 89 was strongly supported by CSLEA, another bill by Assemblymember Reginald Jones-Sawyer, which will require peace officers to be at least 21 years of age or obtain a higher education degree. CSLEA worked with members, policy makers and community members to continue to enhance and improve de-escalation training statewide and believes this legislation will not only assist in those efforts but in the training of current and incoming members of the profession.
Two other bills that CSLEA was instrumental in amending were SB 16 by Senator Nancy Skinner and AB 26 by Assemblymember Chris Holden. The authors took our amendments, which brought CSLEA to a neutral position. SB 16 expands the categories of police personnel records that are subject to disclosure including unreasonable uses of force, failure to intervene, or sustained findings of unlawful arrests and searches and AB 26 requires law enforcement agencies to have a duty to intercede policy if another officer uses excessive force.
Some remaining bills of note that were signed are AB 48 by Assemblymember Lorena Gonzalez to limit the use of kinetic energy projectiles or chemical agents to crowd control situations where there is threat to life or serious bodily injury. AB 481 by Assemblymember David Chiu requires the acquisition of surplus military equipment to be approved by the governing body of the agency. Lastly, Assemblymember Mike Gipson’s legislation, AB 958, defines law enforcement gangs and sets minimum discipline standards for officers who participate in the activities of law enforcement gangs, was signed along with his AB 490 to clarify law enforcement agencies cannot authorize techniques or transportation methods that involve a substantial risk of positional asphyxiation.
CSLEA continued to be a strong voice in the Capitol during a year that saw more legislation targeting the law enforcement profession than any other in recent memory. We will continue to fight for your profession and the great work you do to keep Californians safe.
“While CSLEA and PORAC were successful in positively amending much of the legislation, much more work needs to be done,” said CSLEA President and POST Commissioner Alan Barcelona. “CSLEA will continue to work with PORAC, legislators, and the governor on legislation that is in the best interest of public and officer safety.”