AB 1506 – Requires Attorney General To Investigate Officer-Involved Shootings That Result In The Death Of An Unarmed Civilian, And Establishes A Police Practices Division Within The State DOJ To Review Law Enforcement Agencies’ Use-Of-Force Policies On Re

CATEGORY: Client Update for Public Agencies, Fire Watch, Law Enforcement Briefing Room, Public Education Matters
CLIENT TYPE: Public Education, Public Employers, Public Safety
DATE: Oct 26, 2020

Enacted as another police reform bill in response to several highly publicized incidents involving the use of deadly force by law enforcement officers, AB 1506 increases the level of the California Attorney General’s oversight over local law enforcement’s use of deadly force and does so in two distinct ways.

Currently, the Attorney General has discretionary authority to conduct investigations of officer-involved shootings.  Now, AB 1506 requires a state prosecutor from the Attorney General’s office to investigate any incidents where an officer-involved shooting resulted in the death of an unarmed civilian – defined as any person not in possession of a deadly weapon. AB 1506 authorizes the assigned state prosecutor to do the following as part of their investigation:

Investigate and gather facts related to the officer-involved shooting;

Prepare and submit a written report that must include a statement of facts, detailed analysis and conclusion for each issue under investigation, and – if applicable – recommendations to modify the policies and practices of the law enforcement agency in question; and

Initiate and prosecute a criminal action against the officer if criminal charges are warranted.

The bill also requires the Attorney General to maintain a public website where these officer-involved shooting investigations are posted, subject to redaction for information that is required by law to be kept confidential.

Beginning July 1, 2023, AB 1506 also requires the Attorney General to operate a Police Practices Division within the Department of Justice. The purpose of this new Division is to review a local law enforcement agency’s policies regarding the use of deadly force upon request of the agency.  As part of the Division’s review, it will make specific and customized policy recommendations based on recommended best practices to the local law enforcement agency, including campus police.

As an important note, AB 1506 indicates that the Attorney General is required to implement this new law “subject to an appropriation for this purpose by the Legislature.”  The significance of this bill language is that the Attorney General is not yet technically required to implement this new law until the Legislature can appropriate the funding to do so – something that has not yet happened.  As a result, the implementation of this new law may be delayed until the Legislature provides for the necessary appropriation of funding.

(AB 1506 adds Section 12525.3 to the Government Code.)