SACRAMENTO (KPIX 5) — Law enforcement leaders want lawmakers to consider what it takes to pull the trigger before they vote on a bill to change the standard for police use-of-force from “reasonable” to “necessary.”
Many California officers are against the proposal.
Inside the state capitol building, in the basement near the cafeteria, lawmakers and others saw a demonstration of what it’s like to be confronted with life and death, shoot/don’t shoot scenarios.
The simulator was set up as part of a full court press by the California Chiefs of Police to defeat AB 931, a bill which would put strict new limits on when officers can use deadly force.
“This is the first time we have brought a force option simulator to the state capital to allow legislators and their staff to see and experience a dynamic unfolding situation first hand,” said David Swing, a spokesman for the California Chiefs of Police.
AB 931 would change the legal standard by which officers throughout the state are judged.
It would increase the standard used to justify officer involved killings from what is a reasonable response to a threat — which it is now — to what is a necessary response to stop the threat.
“AB 931 would take a very dynamic, rapidly unfolding situation and evaluate that situation from the benefit of 20-20 hindsight, said Swing. Clearly officers don’t have that luxury in that instantaneous decision.”
But supporters of the bill say that increasing standards for deadly use of force works. From Seattle to New York City, studies show that when cities act on their own have not only managed to decrease the number of civilians killed, but they’ve also increased officer safety as well
“This is something police officers are trained on and that they can do,” said George Galvis, Executive Director for the Oakland-based organization Comunities Unitied for Restorative Youth Justice or CURYJ. “It’s just a question of whether California law enforcement are willing to do it.”
Supporters say it would force officers to seek non-deadly alternatives if the situation warrants.
The bill introduced earlier this year has been moving along. It’s now in the Appropriations Committee which is scheduled to take it up Thursday.