Comprehensive Use-of-Force Legislation

Re: Comprehensive Use-of-Force Legislation

Today we join the California Police Chiefs Association in announcing the introduction of Senate Bill XXX, authored by Senator Anna Caballero, which presents a comprehensive package of changes to California’s use-of-force statutes, law enforcement agency policies, and training.

In 2017, it was reported that there were 172 law enforcement related deaths in California.  In 2018, the incidents in which officers had to use deadly force dropped to 114, a 34% reduction in one year. However, even one death is too many.  That is why law enforcement throughout the state has been working for the past six months to develop this series of comprehensive changes designed to reduce the incidents where officers are responding to serious threats to citizens or are in danger themselves. 

“Our goal through SB XXX is to reduce the tragic loss of life in our communities through a policy that protects the public and our peace officers,” states Senator Caballero.

Current California law is based on parameters set in 1872 for using force against a fleeing felon. As such, this statute is outdated and does not reflect the decisions of the U.S. and California Supreme Courts on use-of-force matters. Moreover, California has not enacted any statutes mandating standardized use of force training, or requirements for agencies internal use of force guidelines. SB XXX addresses each of these issues while better protecting private individuals and law enforcement alike.

This legislation will set first-in-the-nation requirements for departments to adopt use-of-force policies and participate in trainings that include comprehensive and clear guidance related to: de-escalation tactics, reasonable alternatives to deadly force, proportionality, rendering medical aid, an officer’s duty to intercede and prevent excessive use of force, interactions with vulnerable population, reporting requirements, and more.

“We are listening to community concerns, and will work collaboratively to increase safeguards that are beneficial for everyone,” says Brian Marvel, President of the Peace Officers Research Association of California (PORAC), which represents more than 70,000 peace officers in California.

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