(CBS SF) — A state senator has introduced legislation to make certain personnel records for police officers involved in shootings, sexual assault and various forms of misconduct available to the public – which is currently prohibited by law.
Records of police misconduct are currently exempt from disclosure under the California Public Records Act, which makes it difficult for members of the public and the press to determine whether officers involved in questionable shootings or professional misconduct have a history of such problems on the job.
State Senator Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley, called California’s confidentiality laws regarding police misconduct “among the most secretive in the country,” in a statement issued by her office today.
If passed in it’s current form, Senate Bill 1421 would make police records available to the public – as well as other police agencies that are hiring but might be unaware of a candidate’s checkered past.
Not all police records would be included, but those involving discharging a gun, using force that results in death or serious injury, sexual assault – including the use of coercion or attempts to trade leniency for sexual favors – and inaccurate statements in the investigation or prosecution of a crime.
Skinner said that “vast majority” of police have excellent records, but this legislation will help hold bad actors accountable and help restore public trust in law enforcement.
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