Salas’s Law Enforcement Reform Bill Clears Major Hurdle

Friday, August 21, 2020

SACRAMENTO, CA – Assembly Bill (AB) 1299 has cleared a major hurdle by successfully passing out of the Senate Appropriations Committee. AB 1299, authored by Assemblymember Rudy Salas (D-Bakersfield), is a law enforcement reform effort that will help prevent local departments from hiring problematic officers who have a history of serious misconduct. The bill passed with unanimous, bipartisan support.

 

“Our local police departments need more information about who they are hiring to ensure that we are protected by individuals who will properly serve our communities,” said Assemblymember Salas. “AB 1299 will provide investigative background information to police departments when they are making hiring decisions. It is unacceptable that some officers are able to hide their past and are not held accountable. By creating more transparency, AB 1299 will help our law enforcement agencies make more informed decisions and root out bad cops with histories of misconduct.”

 

Last year, it was reported that the City of McFarland hired at least 13 officers who had trouble at other agencies. In some situations, 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 practice allows such officers to make lateral moves and apply to work at a different agency.

 

AB 1299 will address these issues by requiring law enforcement agencies to complete misconduct investigations and notify the Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) of its findings so that they can include this information to be available to superiors when they conduct pre-employment background checks.

 

AB 1299 will next be heard on the Senate Floor.

 

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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.