A bill that would require law enforcement agencies to release public information on police officers investigated for use-of-force violations and sexual assault, among other types of misconduct, passed the State Senate Wednesday.
Senate Bill 1421, introduced last month by East Bay State Sen. Nancy Skinner, now heads to the Assembly.
“Law enforcement has never been better trained or better educated and incidents of officer misconduct are decreasing, yet distrust between many communities and law enforcement continues to grow,” said Skinner, following the 25-11 vote in the state senate. “Transparency can help build the trust so needed to keep our communities safe.”
Skinner’s bill aims to shine some light into the Police Officers’ Bill of Rights, which provides great protections for law enforcement employees, but has also, at times, protected rogue cops from accountability in cases of misconduct.
Incidents when a police officer discharges a weapon resulting in death or serious injury would be subject to public records requests under the bill, as would confirmed instances of sexual assault on the job, and lying during the course of a investigation, prosecution, or report.
All this bill does is pass on the burden to the local community to fund these requests. The bill itself does not provide for funding for the additonal work in each community for the providing of the records. In addition, the proposal allows for 60 days delay after the investigation is initiated. This is a good example of the best of intentions being delayed.
The California Assembly now gets to vote on this. We can only hope that they add to the funding part so as not add one more cost to local government.
If this was truly to be ground breaking and effective, there should be no redaction ability. Bad Cops need to be outed and terminated.
Take a moment and read the bill. It has a lot of holes in it. Not well drafted.