California Lawmakers Consider Police Reform Bills

Once again, protests over systemic racism in policing are erupting in parts of the United States. The latest demonstrations were sparked by the shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin. He has been paralyzed after an officer shot him in the back seven times.

As demands for police reform reach a crescendo, California lawmakers are heeding the call. Several bills pending in the Legislature aim to increase standards for officers and accountability for cops who commit wrongs.

Senate Bill 731 would impose a state certification requirement for police officers. Serious misconduct could result in the loss of that certification in the same way doctors can lose their licenses after malpractice. Assembly Bill 1299 would make police departments notify the Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training when an officer is fired or resigns for alleged wrongdoing. It is designed to give prospective employers in other cities access to that information before hiring.

Assembly Bill 66, which has passed the Assembly already, also increases reporting requirements. And Assembly Bill 1196 would ban chokeholds statewide.

Police officer accountability is a key ingredient for systemic reform. On that front, California is leading the way.