After a veto by Governor Jerry Brown last year, Senator Steven Bradford (D-Gardena) is trying again to improve transparency in policing.
SB 978 is a slightly narrower version of a similar measure from last year, which would require police agencies to post all their current standards, policies, practices, operating procedures, and education and training materials that would otherwise be available to the public if a request was made pursuant to the California Public Records Act.
The California Public Defenders Association is sponsoring the bill. Susan Leff, a public defender for Nevada County who testified in support of the bill told the committee that she had made requests for this disclosable information from Fresno County under the CPRA and that her requests were ignored and returned unopened-twice. Leff said that many counties across the state are already posting this information.
Law enforcement’s advocate, the California State Sheriffs’ Association, opposed the bill, arguing that it would be costly and unfeasible to identify and post all department policies.
SB 978 advanced to the Senate Appropriations Committee on a 5-2 vote with Republicans voting “no.”