The law enforcement profession has seen huge declines in dedicated men and woman wanting to start their careers in public safety. The cause of this? Aside from the change in attitudes, tones and aggressions towards law enforcement, some policymakers continuously push for police reform measures without considering the real impact on their communities and without any input from anyone who has ever worked in the profession.
For decades, the Peace Officers Research Association of California (PORAC) has been working with legislators, community activist groups, public safety experts, academics and more to compose and pass meaningful policies to improve our profession. To truly ensure our peace officers can serve their communities in the way their communities want to be served, law enforcement must be an active participant in developing legislative solutions. Preventing or otherwise de-prioritizing that collaboration will only serve to further the divide.
Developing legislation to establish a licensure program in California has been a priority for PORAC and several of our state’s legislators for years. No one wants to see bad officers removed from law enforcement more than good officers do. When an officer acts in a way that is grossly inconsistent with the missions and goals of our profession, it gives all law enforcement a bad name, and only harms our ability to build back the community trust we need to carry out our service safely and effectively.
Despite months of requests to Sen. Steven Bradford’s, D-Gardena, office to meet, the senator chose to ignore those requests in favor of introducing Senate Bill 2, which has been presented as a potential law enforcement licensing and decertification bill. Unfortunately, SB 2 reaches far beyond the police licensing process and includes policies that would be detrimental to all California cities, counties and public employees.
As written, SB 2 aims to broaden and virtually unravel The Bane Act – California’s landmark 1987 civil rights legislation. The Bane Act was enacted to address hate crimes and provides the equivalent of punitive damages to punish public officials who specifically intend to violate an individual’s state or federal civil rights, or act with reckless indifference. SB 2 would remove the legal requirement that public officials intended to violate a person’s civil rights. This change would subject public employees to the Bane Act’s enhanced civil, and in some cases even criminal, liability anytime someone claims the employee made a mistake or disagrees with the outcome of a decision. These enhanced penalties were intended to punish and deter intentional misconduct, not deter public employees from performing their duties. This will completely undo the intent of The Bane Act and open the floodgates for a surplus of frivolous lawsuits against public officials and agencies.
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Source:: Los Angeles Daily News