Employment-Related, Public Safety Bills at A Glance: Release Or Reporting Of Peace Officer Information And Records

CATEGORY: Law Enforcement Briefing Room
CLIENT TYPE: Public Safety
DATE: Aug 07, 2020

SB 776   (Skinner D)   Expands last year’s SB 1421 release-of-records law to include incidents involving: use of force; not sustained sexual assault or dishonesty; wrongful arrest or seizure; and prejudice or discrimination.  Eliminates the five-year limitation on retention of complaints and records to be reviewed in Pitchess.  Adds penalties for failure to promptly disclose records.  Requires an agency to review any records of investigation another agency conducted prior to hiring a peace officer candidate.  Requires all peace officers to immediately report uses of force.

Unless found to be frivolous, this bill would make the following peace officer reports, investigations or findings disclosable public records:  incidents involving use of force; incidents relating to sexual assault or dishonesty;  incidents relating to sustained findings of wrongful arrests and wrongful searches; incidents involving prejudice or discrimination based on a protected category status.  This bill would  require disclosure of investigations that were not concluded prior to a peace officer/custodial officer resigning from their employment.

This bill would eliminate the five-year limitations on a law enforcement agency’s retention of citizen complaints and on the records to be reviewed by a judge in the Pitchess process under Evidence Code section 1045. 

This bill would make several procedural changes to the record disclosure requirements of SB 1421, including:  limiting fees and costs to duplication costs; setting a $1,000 fine for every day beyond 30 days after a record is not disclosed; and doubling the amount of attorney’s fees and reasonable costs that can be provided as damages to a member of the public who files a Public Records Act suit for not receiving these records.  This bill would also preclude the attorney-client privilege from being asserted to limit disclosure of: factual information provided by a public entity to its attorney; factual information discovered by any investigation done by the public entity’s attorney; or billing records related to the work done by the attorney.

This bill would require a public entity to review any records of investigations of misconduct involving a peace officer candidate from another agency prior to employing the individual as a peace officer.

This bill also creates a new Penal Code section 832.13 to require all peace officers to immediately report all uses of force by the officer to their department.

AB 1314   (McCarty D)   Requires annual city or county website posting of information on use of force settlements and judgements.

Current law requires each law enforcement agency to annually furnish specified information to the Department of Justice regarding the use of force by a peace officer. This bill would create a new Government Code section to require cities and counties to annually post on their websites specified information relating to use of force settlements and judgements reached the previous year, including amounts paid, broken down by individual settlement and judgment, information on bonds used to finance use of force settlement and judgment payments, and premiums paid for insurance against use of force settlements or judgements.

AB 1299   (Salas D)   Requires law enforcement agency to notify POST re all forms of peace officer separations from employment, and to complete and report IA findings to POST.  Requires POST reporting of same to law enforcement agencies conducting pre-employment background investigations.

This bill would require any agency that employs peace officers to notify the Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) when a peace officer separates from employment, including details of any termination or resignation in lieu of termination. This bill would require an agency to notify POST if an officer leaves the agency with a complaint, charge, or investigation pending, and would require the agency to complete the investigation and notify POST of its findings. The bill would require POST to include this information in an officer’s profile and make that information available to specified parties including any law enforcement agency that is conducting a preemployment background investigation of the subject of the profile.

SB 1220   (Umberg D)   Expands law enforcement agency’s obligation to provide peace officer information to prosecuting agency; gives peace officers opportunity to challenge Brady listing.

This bill would, on and after January 1, 2022, require a law enforcement agency maintaining personnel records of peace officers or custodial officers to, upon request, provide a prosecuting agency a list of names and badge numbers of officers employed by the agency in the 5 years preceding the request who meet specified criteria, including, among other things, that the officer has had sustained findings for conduct of moral turpitude or group bias, or that the officer is on probation for a criminal offense. The bill would require the prosecuting agency to keep this list confidential, except as constitutionally required. The bill would additionally require a prosecuting agency, prior to placing an officer’s name on a Brady list, to notify the officer as soon as practicable and provide the officer an opportunity to present information to the prosecuting agency against the officer’s placement on the list, except as specified.