Governor Brown Signs Bill Improving Law Enforcement Transparency and Community-Police Relations
SACRAMENTO – On Sunday Governor Brown signed Senate Bill 978, authored by Senator Bradford (D-Gardena), which requires local law enforcement agencies to post their current policies, procedures, and training materials on their department websites.
“This legislation will not only save valuable time and resources for citizens and law enforcement but also will build mutual trust as well as improve police accountability,” said Senator Bradford. “SB 978 requires all local law enforcement agencies to follow the lead of more than 30 other local and state agencies in California that already post these public records online to inform their community. This saves time and taxpayer dollars, and also just makes sense in 2018.”
SB 978 requires local law enforcement agencies to post information online that includes their codes of ethics, disciplinary protocols, training materials, department general orders, directives and rules, use of force guidelines, and body camera policies. These are already public records, as defined by the California Public Records Act. But individual requests for these documents are often ignored or delayed unnecessarily for such basic public records. SB 978 will ease that undue barrier, while also saving taxpayer dollars by eliminating the need to respond to individual public records requests for the same straightforward documents. Sensitive internal papers would not fall under the requirements of this bill.
“Thank you, Senator Bradford and Governor Brown, for your vision, courage, and leadership in providing California’s communities with greater access to important information about their local law enforcement agencies,” said Attorney Susan Leff, a board member of the California Public Defenders Association, the bill’s sponsor.
Senator Bradford represents the Los Angeles County communities of Carson, Compton, Gardena, Harbor City, Hawthorne, Inglewood, Lawndale, Lennox, San Pedro, Torrance, Watts, Willowbrook, and Wilmington.