Since the murder of George Floyd, hundreds of thousands of Californians have taken to the streets to demand an end to police brutality. We all deserve to live in communities where we feel safe and protected. Yet far too often, the people who are tasked with protecting public safety are the very ones who compromise it.
We give officers more authority than any other profession – the power to stop, search, arrest, and even use deadly force on members of our community. This power means that the state has a greater responsibility to hold these officers accountable.
California is one of only four states that has no process to decertify abusive cops. Decertification ensures those cops cannot be hired as police officers somewhere else. Over 200 other professions in California have licenses that can be revoked if they violate their licensing rules. California gives police officers a license to kill without the ability to revoke it if they abuse their authority.
The Let Us Live Coalition – a coalition of families impacted by police violence and community, legal, and advocacy organizations, has been mobilizing to stop abusive cops from acting above the law by working to pass SB 2, the Kenneth Ross Jr. Police Decertification Act of 2021. CA must create a process to remove abusive police from the streets to protect those who are targeted by police violence: Black people, indigenous people, people of color, LGBTQIA individuals, and those with disabilities.
SB 2 by Senator Steve Bradford will improve community safety by keeping officers who commit misconduct off the streets by:
- Establishing a statewide process to automatically decertify officers who have been fired for serious misconduct such as, but not limited to, excessive force, sexual misconduct and dishonesty. For the aforementioned misconduct, the Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) will also be able to retroactively revoke an officer’s certificate.
- Creating a new accountability division within POST that will independently investigate allegations of serious misconduct of officers who resign before they are fired.
- Creates a civilian-led advisory board that will review the investigations of the accountability division and make recommendations to POST as to whether an officer should be decertified. The advisory board will be composed for seven public members and two law enforcement representatives.
- Requiring local law enforcement to report fired officers to the state and ensure that during the hiring process California law enforcement agencies contact the state to find out why an officer left their previous positions.
- Adding officers who are decertified to the National Decertification Index (NDI), a national database that tracks decertified officers across state lines.
Sponsors: Alliance for Boys and Men of Color, ACLU California Action, Anti-Police-Terror Project, Black Lives Matter CA, California Families United 4 Justice, Communities United for Restorative Youth Justice, PolicyLink, STOP Coalition, and Youth Justice Coalition.