California

What to do here

Click a "Get Template" button to get an email template about a specific issue. Edit the template to connect on a more personal level with your lawmaker. See the Contacting Logistics page for information about how to write an effective email to your lawmakers. Get your lawmakers' emails with the search box to the right. Send the email!

Be sure to check out the Next Steps at the bottom of the page. Go to the References/Further Reading page to see our sources and do some research of your own.

Last updated Jan. 20, 2020

Summary

Key:

Legislation Achieved

Some Progress

No Progress

  • Demilitarization

    Yes
    Yes
    Yes
    Yes

    No knock warrants
    1033 program
    Military-style training
    SWAT data

    California a

  • For Profit Policing

    Yes
    Yes
    Yes
    Yes

    Civil asset forfeiture
    Quotas
    Cost of misconduct

    California b

  • Broken Windows Policing

    Minor offenses
    Objective justification for stops
    Reporting stop details

    California c

  • Accountability

    Yes
    Yes
    Yes
    Yes

    Reckless civil rights violation
    Independent investigation
    Qualified immunity

    California d

  • Reinvesting in Communities

    Mental health response

    Education, housing, and community health resources

    California e

Demilitarization

Learn about demilitarization and the specific issues below on the Demilitarization page (opens in a new window).

 

No knock warrants

Some Progress:

California state law bans no-knock warrants on the surface, but allows judges to grant exceptions in the case of 'exigent circumstances'.

1033 purchases

No Progress:

California has not yet enacted a law ending its participation in programs that facilitate the transfer of military weapons from the federal government to police departments. AB 3131 (introducted in 2018) would have restricted the state's 1033 purchases and required a majority vote from a municipality's oversight board to purchase new equipment. The bill was vetoed by Gov. Gavin Newsom (D).

Military style training

Some Progress:

California requires all peace officers to undergo a training curriculum set by the Commission on Peace Officer Standards of Training. The Regular Basic Course requires 664 hours of training divided among 42 subtopics, including de-escalation and cultural awareness. However, there does not seem to be training modules that emphasize the warrior cop mentality.

Pending Legislation: AB-48, introduced in January 2021, would prohibit the use of kinetic energy projectiles (ex. rubber bullets) or chemical agents (ex. tear gas) to disperse almost every assembly, protest, or demonstration.

SWAT data

No Progress

California has not yet enacted a law requiring the recording and cataloging of SWAT team use.

For Profit Policing

Learn about for profit policing and the specific issues below on the For Profit Policing page (opens in a new window).

 

Civil asset forfeiture

Achieved:

Passed in 2016, Senate Bill 443 requires a criminal conviction (legal standard "beyond a reasonable doubt") to seize property, and require proof that the property seized was obtained because of or used in the course of a crime. Additionally, the bill outlawed state/local police receiving a share of federally forfeited funds under the "Equitable Sharing" program unless there is a underlying criminal conviction, with a cap of $40,000.

Quotas

Achieved:

California state statutes forbid any arrest or citation quotas for any "peace officer", which includes state officers and municipal police.

Cost of misconduct

No Progress:

California has not yet enacted a law requiring police departments (not state general funds) to cover the cost of misconduct. Instead, CA created a joint-city insurance program, the California Joint Powers Insurance Authority (CJPIA), to spread risk/insurance costs across multiple cities. This government agency will revoke coverage to police departments that have too many cases of misconduct to justify insuring, but cities still ultimately pay for the cost of officer misconduct rather than the offending departments/officers themselves. Senate AB-1314, introduced in March 2019, would have required police departments to annually publish info on amount of money paid out in misconduct settlements. It died in committee in November 2020.

Broken Windows Policing

Learn about broken windows policing and the specific issues below on the Broken Windows Policing page (opens in a new window).

 

Minor offenses

Some Progress:

In 2014, Californian's approved Proposition (aka Ballot Question) 47, reducing many non-violent felonies to misdemeanor charges (including personal use of most ilicit drugs) and allowing for resentencing according with the change. More recently, due to the spread of COVID-19, CA set bail at $0 for misdemeanors and non-violent felonies. Reformers hope this policy will remain after public health concerns die down.

Objective justification for stops

No Progress:

California has not yet enacted a law requiring officers to establish objective justification for making a stop (i.e. not simply for furtive movement, suspicious activity, or matching a generalized description).

Reporting stop details

Achieved:

California passed a law in 2015 requiring an annual report on stops with race, gender, age, and outcome.

Accountability

Learn about accountability and the specific issues below on the Accountability page (opens in a new window).

 

Reckless civil rights violation

No Progress:

California has not yet enacted a law lowering the prosecution requirement from ‘willful’ to ‘reckless’ deprivation of another’s rights.

Independent investigation

Achieved:

AB 1506, signed into law in September 2020, would "require a state prosecutor to investigate incidents of an officer-involved shooting resulting in the death of an unarmed civilian."

Qualified immunity

No Progress:

California has not yet enacted a law ending qualified immunity.

Reinvesting in Communities

Learn about reinvesting in communities and the specific issues below on the Reinvesting in Communities page (opens in a new window).

 

Mental health response

Some Progress:

Legislators in September 2020 passed AB 2054 which creates pilot programs to remove police from the response to crises involving mental illness and homelessness, as well as natural disasters and domestic violence.

Pending Legislation: In January 2021, lawmakers introduced AB 118, which would create and fund the C.R.I.S.E.S. Grant program designed to "stimulate and support [community organizations'] involvement in emergency response activities that do not require a law enforcement officer."

Education, Housing, Community Health Resources

No Progress:

It is important to note that policing does not address the roots of social disadvantage and barriers to (economic) opportunity that often lead to crime. Nor should police be burdened with that responsibility.
Without access to quality resources in healthcare, education, and housing, our cities, neighborhoods, and families will continue to suffer. We should instead reassess the budgets of the state government and reinvest in the services that matter most.

Locally, Los Angeles County citizens approved a measure to reallocate 10% of the city's budget to incarceration alternatives such as substance abuse programs, mental health resources, and job training opportunities.

Next Steps

No matter what, register to vote:

Contacting officials is just one piece of the puzzle we can't stop there. We need to make sure our elected officials reflect our values and support reform at every level of government. Register here:

To keep these policies at the forefront:

Keep emailing about them (if you just finished the 5 Days Challenge, keep up the schedule—set reminders in your phone to email about each issue on its specific day).

To ask for more than this:

Use our templates as a model to ask for bigger changes. Color for Change and The Movement for Black Lives both have specific policy related to a reimagined law enforcement system. If you think there are additional policies we ought to consider, send your thoughts our way.

To get updates from Meet the Momentum:

Subscribe below.

 
  • Twitter
  • Instagram
  • Facebook
Contact: Contribute new information, suggest corrections, ask questions. We'd love to hear from you!
Subscribe