Police accountability law must be signed: Letters

View Original Notice ? Police accountability law must be signed: Letters



Senate Bill 2, passed by the California Legislature this month, is one of the most substantive police accountability laws proposed in the Golden State in some time.


“California and the nation as a whole has experienced tragedy after tragedy where consequences for egregious abuses of power went unpunished and cries for accountability went unanswered — eroding public trust in law enforcement,” said Sen. Steven Bradford, D-Gardena, in a statement earlier this month. “This bill is the first of its kind in California and we finally join the 46 other states with processes for the decertification of bad officers.”


You read that right.


Despite otherwise having extensive occupational licensing laws, California is one of just four states in the country not to have a certification/decertification process in place to keep police officers who have committed misconduct off of police forces.


Many other states have had such processes on the books for decades and make regular use of them for holding problem officers accountable.


SB 2 will correct this glaring omission by establishing a decertification process for police officers who have committed serious misconduct.


Additionally, the proposal will make it easier for victims of police misconduct to file civil rights lawsuits.


For anyone who recognizes that there are, in fact, police officers who abuse their power, use excessive force and that both police departments and the public would be best served by removing officers who commit serious misconduct from the profession, this is a self-evidently reasonable proposal.


Fortunately, the bill easily cleared both the state Assembly and the state Senate, with final votes of 49-21 and 28-9, respectively, despite the strong opposition of police unions across the state.


Unfortunately, Republicans made up the overwhelming majority of those opposed the bill.


That’s no doubt in order appease the police unions, which often make up their only significant union-support base.


The bill is now on the desk of Gov. Gavin Newsom. We strongly encourage him to sign it.

It’s time for California to join the rest of the nation and decertify officers who abuse the power of their badge.