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Last updated March 5, 2020
No knock warrants
California state law bans no-knock warrants on the surface, but allows judges to grant exceptions in the case of 'exigent circumstances'.
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
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.
California has not yet enacted a law requiring the recording and cataloging of SWAT team use.
Civil asset forfeiture
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.
California state statutes forbid any arrest or citation quotas for any "peace officer", which includes state officers and municipal police.
Cost of misconduct
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.
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
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
California passed a law in 2015 requiring an annual report on stops with race, gender, age, and outcome.
Reckless civil rights violation
California has not yet enacted a law lowering the prosecution requirement from ‘willful’ to ‘reckless’ deprivation of another’s rights.
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."
California has not yet enacted a law ending qualified immunity.
Mental health response
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
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.
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