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AB 26 – Imposes Higher Minimum Standards For Law Enforcement Use-Of-Force Policies
In 2019, the California Legislature enacted Government Code Section 7286, which requires all law enforcement agencies in the state to maintain policies that provide a minimum standard on the use of force. These policies must include, among other elements, a requirement that peace officers make a report of potential excessive force to a superior officer when they observe another officer using force they believe to be beyond what is necessary. They must also require an officer to intercede when present and observing another officer using clearly excessive force.
Assembly Bill 26 expands on this statute by adding several additional minimum requirements for agencies’ use-of-force policies, effective January 1, 2022:
- Agencies’ policies must now require officers to “immediately” make reports of potential excessive force.
- Polices must prohibit agency employees from retaliating against an officer that reports a suspected violation of law or regulation to a supervisor or other person with authority to investigate the alleged violation. For purposes of this requirement, “retaliation” includes demotion, failure to promote, denial of access to training and professional development opportunities, denial of access to resources necessary for an officer to properly perform their duties, intimidation, harassment, or the threat of injury while on or off duty.
- When an abuse-of-force complaint against an officer is substantiated, agency policies must include procedures that prohibit that officer from training other officers for at least three years.
- Agency policies must require that an officer who has received the necessary training on the requirement to intercede against clearly excessive force, and who fails to intercede when required, is subject to discipline up to and including that imposed against the officer that used the excessive force.
(AB 26 amends Section 7286 of the Government Code.)