Law Enforcement Reform Bill Moves Forward

Monday, August 3, 2020

SACRAMENTO, CA – Assembly Bill (AB) 1299 has successfully passed out of the Senate Public Safety Committee. AB 1299, authored by Assemblymember Rudy Salas (D-Bakersfield), will create oversight and accountability that will help prevent local departments from hiring problematic officers who have a history of serious misconduct. The bill passed with bipartisan, unanimous support.

 

“I am pleased to see that this law enforcement reform effort received bipartisan support,” said Assemblymember Salas. “AB 1299 will provide more background information to our local departments to make sure that they are not hiring bad officers. It is unacceptable that some officers are able to hide their past mistakes and slip through the cracks. AB 1299 will create accountability and help departments hire people who will properly serve our communities.”

 

Last year, it was reported that the City of McFarland hired at least 13 officers who had trouble at other agencies. In some circumstances, law enforcement agencies may not be aware of an officer’s past misconduct due to the tactic of resigning in lieu of termination. This practice describes a situation where an officer, who is being investigated for misconduct, resigns before the investigation is complete.

 

When an officer resigns in lieu of termination, their investigation usually stops and never concludes. This bill will prevent this practice, which allows officers to make lateral moves and apply to work in a different agency. According to the Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST), there have been 10,368 resignations of full-time peace officers between 2015 and 2019.

 

AB 1299 will rectify these issues by requiring law enforcement agencies to complete misconduct investigations and notify POST of its findings so that the commission can make this information available to superiors when they conduct pre-employment background checks.

 

AB 1299 is scheduled to be heard next in the Senate Appropriations Committee.

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Assemblymember Salas represents part of the City of Bakersfield, the cities of Arvin, Hanford, Corcoran, Delano, Lemoore, McFarland, Shafter, Wasco, and the communities of Armona, Avenal, Buttonwillow, Home Garden, Kettleman City, Lamont, Lost Hills, Stratford and Weedpatch.