Employment-Related, Public Safety Bills at A Glance: Peace Officer Qualifications

CATEGORY: Law Enforcement Briefing Room
CLIENT TYPE: Public Safety
DATE: Sep 03, 2020

The peak of California Legislature’s lawmaking season has arrived.  LCW summarizes some important, employment-related portions of public safety bills that have survived the legislative process so far.  Some or all of these bills could be vetoed by the Governor by the September 30, 2020 deadline.  Here is where we stand as of the time of publication of this September 2020 issue of Briefing Room.

AB 846   (Burke D)   Expands the minimum standards for peace officers to include that the officer is free from protected- status bias.  Requires law enforcement agencies to review and amend peace officer job descriptions to emphasize community-based policing.

Current law (Government Code section 1031) requires peace officers to meet specified minimum standards, including that peace officers be evaluated by a doctor and found to be free from any physical, emotional, or mental condition that might adversely affect the exercise of the powers of a peace officer. This bill would amend Government Code section 1031 to require the mental evaluation to also include bias against race or ethnicity, gender, nationality, religion, disability, or sexual orientation.  This bill would add new Penal Code section 13651 to require law enforcement agencies to review the job description of peace officers and make changes that emphasize community-based policing, familiarization between law enforcement and community residents, and collaborative problem solving while de-emphasizing the paramilitary aspects of the job.