Capitol Beat – PORAC’s Priorities

Aaron Read and Randy Perry
Legislative Advocates
Aaron Read & Associates, LLC

By the time you read this, the Legislature will likely be in summer recess. When they return on August 6, there will only be four weeks left of the 2017–2018 legislative session. PORAC, along with Aaron Read & Associates (ARA), will be busy over the next several weeks working to support, oppose or amend legislation. (See the complete list of PORAC’s active support, active oppose and sponsored bills in the bill chart on the next page.) As mentioned in our previous article, law enforcement is primarily on the defensive this legislative session, opposing critical bills that would negatively impact our officers. Here is a list of some of the current issues that we are opposing:

AB 284 (McCarty, D-Sacramento): This bill inserts the California Department of Justice (DOJ) into the process of studying peace officer–involved shootings (OIS) resulting in a serious injury or death. AB 284 requires the attorney general to do a two-year study of past officer-involved shootings resulting in serious injury or death to determine whether there is a need for change in shooting policy and to make recommendations. The study would look at shootings from January 1, 2015, to December 31, 2016. PORAC played an active role in opposing this bill from the beginning. One of our arguments was that we didn’t believe legislation was needed for this issue. Under current law, the attorney general can already go in on an investigation. For this reason, Assembly Member McCarty made the decision to turn his bill into a budget augmentation of $10 million. We met with the Senate budget staff to continue our efforts to stop the request from being funded. We were recently informed that the Senate denied the McCarty budget proposal. As of right now, the funding for the DOJ OIS Investigation program is dead.

AB 748 (Ting, D-San Francisco): This bill requires the release of body-camera footage within 120 days, regardless of whether there is still an active, ongoing investigation, disallowing the use of redaction technology to obscure specific portions of the recording for law enforcement purposes and prohibiting the use of biometric technology on the video. At the time this article was written, we had just been handed amendments to AB 748 that purport to align with LAPD’s new video release policies. The amendments attempt to remove the negative impact this bill could have on ongoing investigations by allowing for extensions. PORAC’s lawyers are analyzing the amendments, and we will follow up when we have more information. AB 748 is currently awaiting a hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee.

AB 931 (Weber, D-San Diego): This bill would limit the use of deadly force by a peace officer to situations where it is “necessary” to prevent imminent and serious bodily injury or death to the officer or to a third party. It would prohibit the use of deadly force by a peace officer in a situation where an individual poses a risk only to themselves. AB 931 would also limit the use of deadly force by a peace officer against a person fleeing from arrest or imprisonment to only those situations in which the officer has probable cause to believe that the person has committed, or intends to commit, a felony involving serious bodily injury or death, and there is an imminent risk of serious bodily injury or death to the officer or to another person if the subject is not immediately apprehended. Amendments are being proposed; however, as of this writing, they are not yet in print. PORAC’s leaders and panel attorneys, along with ARA, have been in many meetings over the last couple of months to develop a strategy on how best to defeat this bill. AB 931, in its current form, is detrimental to law enforcement and puts officers and the public at risk. This is our number one issue this year, and every effort is being put forth to keep the bill from moving forward. We will keep you informed as the situation progresses.

SB 1421 (Skinner, D-Berkeley): This bill permits inspection of specified peace officer and custodial officer records pursuant to the California Public Records Act (CPRA). SB 1421 provides that records related to reports, investigations or findings may be subject to disclosure if they involve the following: incidents involving the discharge of a firearm or electronic control weapons by an officer, incidents involving strikes of impact weapons or projectiles to the head or neck area, incidents of deadly force or serious bodily injury by an officer, incidents of sustained sexual assault by an officer or incidents relating to sustained findings of dishonesty by a peace officer. PORAC has met with Senator Skinner, her staff and the bill’s sponsors on many occasions and are working with her office on potential amendments. Stay tuned for more information. In the meantime, PORAC remains opposed.

Primary Election

As you know, the June 5 primary election is behind us. Incumbent legislators in both houses who were up for re-election advanced to the general election, which will be held on November 6.  

PORAC Training – Political Action/PAC Management

Political Action/PAC Management – PORAC Headquarters

Two-day class, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Political Action will look at the value and future of political action and political action committees (PACs) as they pertain to the law enforcement community. Participants will learn the value of establishing a PAC and receive an overview of the current rules governing campaign and PAC expenditures. Learn how to author a bill and how a bill becomes law. Also covered will be an overview of the legislative process, current legislation affecting law enforcement, how to interpret proposed language, campaign strategies, and your legal and fiduciary responsibilities.

PAC Management will begin with a review of the state campaign laws contained in the Political Reform Act of 1974 and the regulations of the Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC). Participants will work from the PORAC Political Action Committee (PAC) Guide, which will provide required information and documents necessary to establish and maintain a PAC, including definitions of legal terms, commonly asked questions and answers, record-keeping requirements, state and county filing addresses for campaign reports, tax rules, sample completed state and county filing addresses for campaign reports, sample completed federal tax forms and sample completed state campaign reporting forms.

 

Click Here to Register

Capitol Beat – Our Biggest Battle Yet

Aaron Read and Randy Perry
Legislative Advocates
Aaron Read & Associates, LLC

On May 8, PORAC leadership walked the halls of the Capitol for their annual Legislative Day. In past years, PORAC members met with their local policymakers to discuss PORAC’s sponsored, supported and opposed legislation. This year, however, we narrowed our focus down to three bills that, if passed, could greatly impact the safety of our officers and the public. It is important for legislators to understand what peace officers in California are facing, and we encourage you to join us in being a voice for your association as we continue to advocate for PORAC members. Below are two of the three bills discussed during Legislative Day. PORAC has sat down with their panel attorneys, stakeholders and policymakers on many occasions to discuss each of the measures explained below.

AB 931, the “Police Accountability and Community Protection Act”: Active Oppose

The intent of AB 931, by Assembly Member Shirley Weber (D-San Diego), is to authorize police officers to use deadly force only when it is necessary to prevent imminent and serious bodily injury or death. This bill abandons the “reasonableness” standard adopted by the U.S. Supreme Court in Graham v. Connor.

PORAC agrees with the following:

  • The use of deadly force is a serious responsibility that must be exercised judiciously.
  • Every person has a right to be free from excessive force by officers acting under color of law.
  • Peace officers should be trained in a wide range of skills, tactics and tools, including de-escalation tactics and mental health assessment training.

PORAC opposes this bill for the following reasons:

  • The legislation fails to take into account that imposing a new standard for use of deadly force would require that every police officer in the state of California be retrained. The legislation fails to take into consideration the significant time that will be required to develop new training to adjust every officer’s mental and motor programs to the new standard, and fails to contain any funding mechanism for such standards.
  • The legislation defines “necessary” as meaning there is “no reasonable alternative” to the use of deadly force. Whether deadly force was the only reasonable option can only be determined in hindsight and does not allow for the fact that police officers are often forced to make split-second judgments.
  • The cost of a “necessary” standard will be officer hesitation. This will place our communities at greater risk as officers delay their response to a rapidly evolving and dangerous situation in order to review and evaluate a checklist of options before acting to protect the public safety.
  • The existing standard already takes necessity into account. An officer can only use the amount of force that under the totality of circumstances is reasonable. For the force to be reasonable, it must be objectively necessary given everything the officer knew and believed to be true at the time the force decision was made.
  • An increased level of training rather than legislation would accomplish the bill’s mandate that officers consider alternatives, including de-escalation.

SB 1421, Criminal Procedure and Sentencing: Active Oppose

SB 1421, by Senator Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley), states that an officer’s investigatory files will become public after the entire appeal process has been completed and if the officer’s complaint is sustained. The bill deals with the more-serious types of complaints, such as discharge of a firearm, discharge of a Taser, blow to the head or neck, use of force resulting in death or serious injury, sexual assault or dishonesty.

PORAC opposes this bill for the following reasons:

  • There currently exists an unfair appellate process; disclosing the findings prior to a court fully reviewing and analyzing the matter would unduly prejudice what could be an innocent officer.
  • The current law provides for confusion and uncertainty in the administrative disciplinary process; each department has its own regulations that it follows and some are more fair than others.
  • In a case with mixed allegations (i.e., the department chooses to “load up” the discipline by raising numerous allegations of misconduct, some of which would fall under the categories for disclosure and some of which would not), there is no way to parse out what should and should not be disclosed.
  • Should information about law enforcement discipline be publicized, a wave of habeas corpus petitions from convicted criminals would follow. Criminals previously arrested or investigated by an officer who is the subject of misconduct allegations would inundate the court system and render the court process confusing and unreliable.
  • There would, likewise and for similar reasons, be an increase in civil lawsuits brought against government entities, forcing them to expend a great amount of public funds on defense rather than on more important community needs.
  • Disclosing too much information about use-of-force incidents too early in the investigatory process could impede successful criminal prosecutions against officers.
  • Due to concern that their names might be disclosed, officers may hesitate before acting, creating an officer safety issue.
  • Officers being hesitant to become involved in an incident will potentially decrease the safety of communities (the “Chicago effect”).
  • The others involved in a case — e.g., victims and witnesses (not law enforcement) — would lose their right to privacy or be exposed to the general public in ways they might not want; there are no notifications or opt-outs available in the proposed law. Even if names are redacted, there are often ways the public can ascertain the identities of the involved parties.

The Federal Legislation Status Chart is available at porac.org/advocacy/legislation-overview/  

Capitol Beat – PORAC’s Priorities

Aaron Read and Randy Perry
Legislative Advocates
Aaron Read & Associates, LLC

2018 is the second half of the two-year legislative session, and it is turning out to be quite challenging. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and other social justice organizations are sponsoring bills that range from bringing the attorney general into officer-involved shootings and the mandatory release of body-camera footage to the release of investigatory files and the severe restriction of the use of deadly force by officers.

In addition to these bills dramatically impacting the law enforcement profession, PORAC is working diligently to push legislation positively impacting the Peace Officers Bill of Rights (POBR) and the workers’ compensation system, as well as legislation to provide protections in California’s newly created Racial and Identity Profiling Advisory (RIPA) regulations.

Actively Opposed Bills

AB 284, Reporting of Officer-Involved Shootings, by Assembly Member Kevin McCarty (D-Sacramento): This bill inserts the California Department of Justice (DOJ) into the process of studying peace officer–involved shootings resulting in death or serious injury. This bill also requires the AG to do a study of past actions to determine whether there is a need for change. AB 284 has been stalled; however, it is not dead. We will update you as information becomes available.

AB 748, Disclosure of Video and Audio Recordings: Peace Officers, by Assembly Member Philip Ting (D-San Francisco): AB 748 requires the release of body-camera footage within 120 days, regardless of whether there is still an active, ongoing investigation. It disallows the use of redaction technology to obscure specific portions of the recording for law enforcement purposes and prohibits the use of biometric technology on the video. PORAC, along with the other law enforcement organizations, will continue to fight this measure. As of this writing, AB 748 is sitting in the Senate Appropriations Committee; however, the issue is still very much alive. The sponsors, the ACLU and the Newspaper Publishers Association, are adamant about receiving this information and demand the video as soon as they can get it.

AB 931, “Police Accountability and Community Protection Act,” by Assembly Member Shirley Weber (D-San Diego): The intent of this bill is to authorize police officers to use deadly force only when it is necessary to prevent imminent and serious bodily injury or death. This bill abandons the “reasonableness” standard adopted by the U.S. Supreme Court in Graham v. Connor.

AB 3131, Law Enforcement Agencies: Military Equipment — Funding and Acquisition, by Assembly Member Todd Gloria (D-San Diego): This bill would require law enforcement agencies to obtain approval of the applicable governing body, by adoption of a military equipment impact statement and a military equipment use policy, as specified, by ordinance at a regular meeting held pursuant to specified open meeting laws, prior to taking certain actions relating to the funding, acquisition or use of military equipment.

SB 1421, Criminal Procedure and Sentencing, by Senator Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley): SB 1421 states that an officer’s investigatory files will become public after the entire appeal process has been completed and if the officer’s complaint is sustained. The bill deals with the more serious types of complaints, such as discharge of a firearm, discharge of a Taser, blow to the head or neck, serious use of force resulting in death or serious injury, sexual assault, dishonesty, etc.

Actively Supported Bills

AB 2577, Personal Income Taxes: Deductions — Labor Organization Dues, by Assembly Member Adam Gray (D-Merced): For each taxable year beginning on or after January 1, 2018, and before January 1, 2023, this bill would allow, as a deduction from gross income, an amount equal to the amount paid or incurred for member dues paid by a taxpayer during the taxable year to specified labor organizations.

AB 2823, Violent Felonies, by Assembly Member Adrin Nazarian (D-North Hollywood): This bill would define human sex trafficking as a violent felony and expand the scope of violent felonies in cases of sodomy, oral copulation, sexual penetration and rape offenses, including if the victim was unconscious, incapable of giving consent due to intoxication or because of a mental disorder, physical disability and more.

Sponsored Bills

AB 1749, Workers’ Compensation: Off-Duty Peace Officer, by Assembly Member Tom Daly (D-Anaheim): Unlike most professions, law enforcement is uniquely trained in how to react to attacks on the public. Co-sponsored by PORAC, AB 1749 would ensure that California’s workers’ compensation system covers peace officers who acted outside of state boundaries and were injured, regardless of their injuries.

AB 3091, RIPA Legislation, by Assembly Member Shirley Weber (D-San Diego): AB 3091 will clarify the intent of AB 953 by Assembly Member Weber that individual officers not be identified through the data provided for the RIPA report. This bill simply states that the “unique identifying number shall not be subject to the California Public Records Act.”

SB 1086, Workers’ Compensation: Firefighters and Peace Officers, by Senator Toni Atkins (D-San Diego): Co-sponsored by PORAC, this bill extends in perpetuity the window of time during which the family of a public safety officer whose death is attributable to specified work-related illnesses is eligible to collect survivor death benefits. By permanently extending the survivor death benefit eligibility from 240 weeks to 420 weeks, it will ensure that these officers’ grieving families are not deprived of the benefits they deserve due to an arbitrary and unfair timeline.

Capitol Beat – High-Priority Bills on PORAC’s Radar

Aaron Read and Randy Perry
Legislative Advocates
Aaron Read & Associates, LLC

The second half of the 2017–18 legislative session is in full swing. Over 1,000 bills carried over from last year, in addition to the more than 2,000 new bills that were introduced and the hundreds more that have been amended. We are in the process of reviewing each of the new and amended bills and determining their impact on PORAC. As always, we will keep you updated in the weeks to come. In the meantime, below are a few of PORAC’s high-priority bills that will be on the forefront of our legislative efforts. 

PORAC-Sponsored Bill

AB 3091, RIPA Amendments, by Assembly Member Shirley Weber (D-San Diego): Assembly Member Weber’s 2016 bill, AB 953, created the Racial and Identity Profiling Advisory Board (RIPA) under the Department of Justice (DOJ), which mandates that all law enforcement agencies report certain “stop data” to the DOJ. The Act also created a RIPA Board that is tasked with developing the type of data and the guidelines surrounding the collection of that data. The RIPA Board is made up of 14 members appointed by legislative leaders and the Attorney General. In addition, the Board has named members, including PORAC, California Police Chiefs Association, California State Sheriffs’ Association and the CAHP. Law enforcement makes up four of the 14 members. Other named organizations are community, professional, academic, research, and civil and human rights organizations.

Over the past year and a half, the RIPA Board has been meeting throughout the state and has reported its findings and recommendations on the stop data to the AG. The AG has approved those regulations, and the initial agencies have begun to collect the stop data.

Throughout the process, PORAC has voiced its concerns with various parts of the regulations to no avail. However, one component of the regulations deals with the assignment of a “unique identifying number” to each officer providing stop data to their agency for the RIPA report. Because both the local agency’s report and the aggregate DOJ report is public information, PORAC believes that the unique identifying number for each officer could be subject to the California Public Records Act (CPRA).  Although in the final regulations created by the AG’s office, they attempted to protect the unique identifier, AB 953 does not sufficiently protect that information.

PORAC is sponsoring legislation this year that will clarify the intent of AB 953 that individual officers not be identified through the data provided for the RIPA report. PORAC’s legislation simply states that the “unique identifying number shall not be subject to the California Public Records Act.”

PORAC-Opposed Bills

AB 284, Reporting of Officer-Involved Shootings, by Assembly Member Kevin McCarty (D-Sacramento): This bill inserts the California Department of Justice (DOJ) into the process of studying peace officer-involved shootings resulting in death or serious injury. Initially, Assembly Member McCarty introduced AB 86, which sought to have the AG set up three offices around the state to investigate such incidents. PORAC, along with other law enforcement organizations, worked to defeat AB 86, but then Assembly Member McCarty introduced a new bill, AB 284. AB 284 requires the AG to do a study of past actions to determine whether there is a need for change. AB 284 has been stalled; however, it is not dead. We will update you as information becomes available. 

AB 748, Disclosure of Video and Audio Recordings: Peace Officers, by Assembly Member Phil Ting (D-San Francisco): AB 748 requires the release of body-camera footage within 120 days, regardless of whether there is still an active, ongoing investigation, disallowing the use of redaction technology to obscure specific portions of the recording for law enforcement purposes and prohibiting the use of biometric technology on the video. PORAC, along with other law enforcement organizations, opposes this measure and will continue to fight it. As of this writing, AB 748 is still sitting in the Senate Appropriations Committee; however, the issue is still very much alive. The sponsors, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the California Newspaper Publishers Association (CNPA), are adamant about receiving this information and demand video and audio recordings as soon as they can get them. 

SB 1421, Criminal Procedure and Sentencing, by Senator Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley): This bill was recently introduced and is also sponsored by the ACLU and the CNPA. It is similar to SB 1286 (Leno, D-San Francisco) from 2016, but with some changes.

SB 1286 stated that after a complaint was sustained by the department, the investigatory files will be made public. SB 1421 states that those files will become public after the entire appeal process for the officer has been completed and if the officer’s complaint is sustained. The bill deals with the more serious types of complaints, such as discharge of a firearm, discharge of a Taser, blow to the head or neck, serious use of force resulting in death or serious injury, sexual assault, dishonesty, etc.

PORAC, CAHP and other law enforcement organizations are opposed to SB 1421 and will continue to work with the author to see if some type of agreement is possible in this area.

Capitol Beat – California, Cannabis and S.F. Police Reform

Aaron Read and Randy Perry
Legislative Advocates
Aaron Read & Associates, LLC

Over the past six years, the Legislature and supporters of medical and recreational cannabis have been working to rein in and organize the laws in California surrounding a movement that began with Proposition 215 in 1996. 

Recreational cannabis became legal this year due to the passage of Proposition 64 in November 2016. PORAC had opposed the proposition, but Californians overwhelmingly approved it. Fortunately, the Legislature had the foresight to create a regulatory structure before the initiative passed to avoid the major obstacles other states experienced when they legalized medical and/or recreational cannabis.

The California Legislature created, under the Department of Consumer Affairs, the Bureau of Cannabis Control. The Bureau’s sole jurisdiction is the regulation of medical and recreational cannabis, from “seed to sale.” It recently released emergency regulations and has begun distributing licenses from 17 categories.

The Legislature is still grappling with many issues regarding the legalization of cannabis. These include banking, taxation, marketing, labeling, location restrictions and environmental policy.

A major concern of public safety is that the number of motorists driving under the influence of marijuana will increase. The Legislature will be developing a strategy on how best to approach the issue and conduct appropriate field sobriety tests. PORAC hopes this will allow law enforcement to be proactive and ultimately reduce the number of accidents and fatalities due to driving under the influence.

PORAC understands that the climate is changing in California. Although the full outcome isn’t known yet, we will keep you apprised of changes as these new laws and regulations are enforced.

The Attorney General Steps Into S.F. Police Reform

In October 2016, then-San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee reached out to the Department of Justice’s COPS Office and asked them to complete a federal review of the San Francisco Police Department. This came after a series of racist and homophobic text messages between officers was disclosed and after the 2015 shooting of Mario Woods — which led to the police chief’s resignation. The review showed that use of force was more prevalent against African Americans than for any other race and police stopped African Americans at a disparate rate. The COPS Office also provided 272 recommendations for the Department to consider, including improvement in community policing, racial bias, use of force and recruitment.

Fast-forward to September 2017, when the DOJ announced that the COPS program would no longer assist law enforcement agencies on reforms such as those in San Francisco. On February 5, 2018, the City of San Francisco and Attorney General Xavier Becerra held a news conference announcing that the California Department of Justice will be stepping into the role of reviewing and reporting on the city’s progress in making the reforms. They will be the “independent eye” assessing what the police are doing. During the conference, the City said that the Department has implemented over half of the reforms recommended by the DOJ in 2016, and that uses of force fell 18% and citizens’ complaints dropped 9% in the last year.

Among the reforms implemented are:

  • Automated electronic audits to identify and root out bias
  • Procedural justice training
  • New units including a “Community Engagement Division”
  • Accountability/transparency — implementation of body cameras
  • Recruiting of a diverse force to gain different perspectives in regards to different cultures, countries of origin, education levels, religions, etc.

Attorney General Becerra said at the news conference that this is just the beginning and he hopes that the collaborative reform won’t end with San Francisco.

Capitol Beat – Hitting the Ground Running

Aaron Read and Randy Perry
Legislative Advocates
Aaron Read & Associates, LLC

Governor Jerry Brown, who has always taken a more conservative approach to spending, is using much of this year’s surplus to stash away billions of dollars in reserves, both because of the recession that he believes is looming and due to the prospect of the Republican Congress cutting social services in the wake of its vote for a tax cut last month that could swell the federal deficit by $1.4 trillion over a decade.

The budget plan gives a $5 billion jolt to the state’s rainy day fund, which means that fund would hold 10% of California’s General Fund revenue, estimated to give the state $13.5 billion to use in a fiscal emergency by June 30, 2019.

Relating to public safety, included in the past few budgets has been funding for various “transition, education and workforce” programs for inmates leaving state prison due to the AB 109 realignment and Propositions 47 and 57. With this being Governor Brown’s last budget, his administration is very focused this year on prisoner rehabilitation and reducing recidivism. The budget addresses the following local public safety issues.

The Community Corrections Performance Incentive Grant

The Community Corrections Performance Incentive Grant, Chapter 608, Statutes of 2009 (SB 678), was created to provide incentives for counties to reduce the number of felony probationers sent to state prison. The budget includes $106.4 million to continue this successful program.

Post-Release Community Supervision (PRCS)

The budget includes $29 million in the General Fund for county probation departments to supervise the temporary increase in the average daily population of offenders on PRCS as a result of the implementation of Proposition 57.

Proposition 47 Savings

Voters passed Proposition 47 in November 2014, which requires misdemeanor rather than felony sentencing for certain property and drug crimes, and permits inmates previously sentenced for these reclassified crimes to petition for resentencing. The Department of Finance currently estimates net savings of $64.4 million for Proposition 47 when comparing 2017–18 to 2013–14, an increase of $18.8 million over the estimated savings in 2016–17. Ongoing savings are currently estimated to be approximately $69 million. These funds will be allocated according to the formula outlined in the initiative.

Transition From State Custody to Local Systems

As a result of various criminal justice reforms over the years, it has become increasingly important to improve the transition of inmates from state custody to local supervision. The administration has found that the existing handoff between the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) and probation departments is in need of improvement, and plans to strengthen local partnerships to enhance the process for release. By improving information transfer and sharing of resources to assist with a more seamless transition of offenders to the local system, the state can increase success of transition and reduce the likelihood of offenders returning to custody. To this end, CDCR has undertaken several initiatives in cooperation with counties, such as:

  • Pre-release video conferencing allows a probation officer to schedule a video teleconference appointment with an offender prior to release to PRCS. This will increase communication between offenders and their probation officers, allowing for more effective pre-release planning and dialogue related to housing and treatment program placement.
  • In December 2017, CDCR led web-based training for approximately 600 county probation staff to promote a better understanding of its release process and protocols for determining PRCS eligibility.
  • CDCR, in collaboration with the Receiver’s Office and the Chief Probation Officers of California, has developed a protocol for the release of offenders who are medically compromised and in need of specialized community care upon release. The protocols include communication requirements and expedited timeframes between internal and external stakeholders who are impacted by the release of medically compromised inmates. CDCR is also working on a protocol for the release of inmates with serious mental illness.
  • In October 2017, CDCR finished automation of the pre-release information to expedite the process and provide associated data to appropriate staff in real-time. The pre-release information includes offender data such as in-prison behavior and programming, residence and employment plans, reporting requirements, caseworker evaluations, and medical and psychiatric needs.

Since these efforts are in the early stages of implementation, the administration will continue working with the Chief Probation Officers of California to discuss and evaluate their impacts on the handoff process.

Success for offenders comes from continuing partnerships with stakeholders at the local level on diversion, mental health, job readiness and workforce development, substance use disorder treatment, and health care programs that focus more on rehabilitation and reintegration into society. Initiatives undertaken by the administration, such as implementation of the Affordable Care Act and workforce investments, give the state an opportunity to provide offenders with services necessary to end the cycle of crime and become self-sufficient and productive members of society.

Department of Justice

The administration will continue working with the Attorney General’s Office on a funding proposal expected in the spring to implement Chapter 541, Statutes of 2017 (SB 384), which will replace the existing lifetime sex offender registration system with a tiered registration system beginning January 1, 2021. Among other things, the Department of Justice will need to prepare information technology planning documents, update the California Sexual Assault Registry and add staff to support new tiering, exclusion and termination requests associated with SB 384, which are expected to cost millions of dollars annually.

Capitol Beat – Hitting the Ground Running

Aaron Read and Randy Perry
Legislative Advocates
Aaron Read & Associates, LLC

This January begins the second half of a two-year legislative session. This means that we will see many of our 2017 priority bills moving through committee and floor hearings once again. We will also see other bills amended with brand-new language for us to review and possibly take a position on. However, we are not just sitting around waiting for things to happen. As always, PORAC is proactive when it comes to legislation, and this year, we will be sponsoring new and significant bills that will impact the lives of our members.

At PORAC’s Annual Conference of Members in November, the Board of Directors voted to sponsor three brand-new measures, as well as to reintroduce a vetoed bill and work to rectify a bill that was signed into law last year. The team at ARA has submitted the PORAC-approved language to the legislative counsel and will be working with the bill authors on strategy and background information. Once the language is introduced, the bill must sit for 30 days before being assigned to a committee. Below are brief summaries of a few of PORAC’s new sponsored bills.

RIPA Amendments

This bill is authored by Assembly Member Sharon Quirk-Silva (D-Fullerton). As we have reported in past articles, the Racial and Identity Profiling Act (RIPA) was created after AB 953, authored by Assembly Member Shirley Weber, was signed into law. The measure was strongly opposed by PORAC since it was first introduced, but the political dynamic has changed since Ferguson and the amount of support for the bill was staggering. PORAC President Mike Durant was asked to be on the advisory board, and now President Brian Marvel has been sworn in to take over this role.

Assembly Member Weber’s bill promised to keep officers’ identities confidential. However, this is being compromised in the RIPA regulations with what the DOJ is calling a “unique identifying number.”

Prior to AB 953 becoming law, PORAC and other stakeholders were repeatedly assured that the individual identifying information regarding officers would never be released or available to the public. This was critical for the protection and safety of any individual officer and their family, as the data collected may be misconstrued or taken out of all reasonable contexts. Although the legislation makes clear that individual officer identification must remain undisclosed through the aggregate data published by the DOJ, that same information is not similarly protected through court orders or public records requests filed with the individual agency.

Since PORAC was first formed, we have been determined to protect our officers’ safety and privacy. ARA, along with the PORAC legal team, has drafted language to amend AB 953 to ensure that officers’ identities are not breached and that RIPA upholds officer privacy rights as written in the CPRA.

We have an uphill battle ahead, with clear enmity directed toward the men and women of law enforcement. PORAC will continue to work to guarantee that officers’ privacy and safety are considered as these regulations are implemented.

Out-of-State Workers’ Compensation

Our nation has been hit hard over the last few years as acts of hate and violence are becoming a part of our everyday narrative. Unlike most jobs, law enforcement is uniquely trained on how to react to attacks on the public. This is something that cannot be taken for granted. As we saw in the horrific Las Vegas shooting recently, off-duty peace officers from California heroically responded by personally shielding innocent concertgoers, carrying injured people to safety and returning to the scene repeatedly to escort others out of harm’s way at great risk to themselves. Unfortunately, some of these brave peace officers were injured by gunshots. The issue that has arisen from this event is whether or not California’s workers’ compensation system should cover these peace officers who acted outside of state boundaries and were injured. Some of these workers’ comp claims are being denied by the peace officers’ agencies.

Penal Code Section 830.1 (a) defines the authority of California peace officers. Specifically, it states the following:

The authority of these peace officers extends to any place in the state, as follows:

(1) As to any public offense committed or which there is probable cause to believe has been committed within the political subdivision that employs the peace officer or in which the peace officer serves.

(2) Where the peace officer has the prior consent of the chief of police or chief, director, or chief executive officer of a consolidated municipal public safety agency, or person authorized by him or her to give consent, if the place is within a city, or of the sheriff, or person authorized by him or her to give consent, if the place is within a county.

(3) As to any public offense committed or which there is probable cause to believe has been committed in the peace officer’s presence, and with respect to which there is immediate danger to person or property, or of the escape of the perpetrator of the offense.

PORAC understands that is our responsibility to protect our members as they protect the citizens of our country. There’s no on-and-off switch for an officer’s commitment to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of California against all enemies, foreign and domestic.” Assembly Member Tom Daly (D-Anaheim) has introduced legislation in an attempt to further define the role of a California peace officer and the responsibilities of a peace officer’s employer should they become injured.

Parole Video and Victims

PORAC is teaming up with fellow stakeholders to introduce legislation that provides greater transparency and accountability to the parole process, ensuring that the process does not continue to revictimize the individuals and families of the crime. Officer Archie Buggs of San Diego P.D. was murdered in the line of duty in 1978. His executioner has had four parole hearings since 2012. California’s current parole process continues to revictimize families like Archie’s. This new bill attempts to fix this broken system in the following ways:

  • Provide video of all “lifer” parole hearings, with the proviso that victims or victims’ relatives will have the option to have their video image concealed.
  • Remove the Board of Parole Hearings from the jurisdiction of CDCR and make it into a freestanding agency.
  • Require that the inmate, on the record, demonstrate remorse and insight into the nature of his or her offense.
  • Further, require that the inmate demonstrate the changes he or she has made that demonstrate a departure from his or her prior criminality and state-specific post-release plans.
  • Expand the governor’s authority to overturn or modify a parole grant to include all transactions in which a peace officer was killed. Provide that an inmate whose parole grant was overturned by the governor must wait five years before reapplying.

              Require the Board of Parole Hearings to release the video and audio of the hearing to the public, prominently displayed on its website, within five business days after the hearing.

Capitol Beat – The Reducing Crime and Keeping California Safe Act

Aaron Read and Randy Perry
Legislative Advocates
Aaron Read & Associates, LLC

Two of the 10 most dangerous cities in the nation are in California — yet we continue to see criminal justice reforms being passed that lessen sentences, allow for early release and put public safety at risk.

Props 47, 57 and AB 109, combined, have released tens of thousands of inmates, straining local jails and fueling a new surge in local crime and homelessness. They have also limited DNA collection and redefined criminal theft, costing millions to business owners and consumers. PORAC opposed all three reforms. We can agree that because of these acts, there are more serious flaws in our current criminal justice system than ever before.

Under current law, rape of an unconscious person, trafficking a child for sex, assault of a peace officer, felony domestic violence and other similar crimes are no longer classified as violent felonies, making criminals convicted of these crimes eligible for early release. The release of these criminals without meeting the mental health, drug rehabilitation and reformative needs of the individuals often leads to homelessness and the continuous cycle of criminal behavior.

On October 30, a statewide ballot measure was filed with the Secretary of State in an attempt to fix the problems brought forth by recent criminal justice reforms. The initiative is sponsored by the California Public Safety Partnership (CAPSP), an alliance of law enforcement, public safety leaders, crime victims, child advocates and business leaders.

Specifically, the initiative takes action against crime on four fronts:

1)   Expands the violent crimes list for early release parole consideration. Added crimes include:

  • Human trafficking of a child
  • Abducting a minor for prostitution
  • Rape by intoxication
  • Rape of an unconscious person
  • Felony sexual penetration, sodomy or oral copulation when drugs are used or the victim is unconscious
  • Drive-by shooting or shooting on foot at an inhabited dwelling or vehicle
  • Felony domestic violence
  • Felony assault with a deadly weapon
  • Solicitation to commit murder
  • Felony assault using force likely to produce great bodily injury
  • Assault with a caustic chemical
  • False imprisonment/taking a hostage when avoiding arrest or for use as a shield
  • Felony resisting a peace officer, causing death or serious injury
  • Exploding a bomb to injure people
  • Felony hate crime
  • Any felony where it is pled and proven that the defendant personally used a deadly weapon
  • Any crime with lifetime PC 290
  • Felony use of force or threats against a witness or victim of a crime
  • Felony elder or dependent adult abuse

This act also changes the standard of parole review from “Does inmate pose a danger to commit violence?” to “Does the inmate pose an unreasonable risk of creating victims as a result of felonious conduct if released from prison?”

2)   Reinstates DNA collection for certain crimes that were reduced to misdemeanors under Prop 47. Multiple studies have shown that DNA collected from theft and drug offenders helps solve cases of rape, murder and other violent crimes. But since the passage of Prop 47, cold-case hits have fallen dramatically.

3)   Makes serial theft a felony for offenders convicted of a third theft of property valued at $250 or more. Prop 47 reduced to a misdemeanor theft under $950, and failed to account for thieves who steal repeatedly, which has spawned an epidemic of shoplifting costing California’s retailers, small and large, an estimated $1 billion.

4)   Requires a mandatory hearing to determine whether parole should be revoked for any parolee who violates the terms of their parole for the third time. Currently, parolees can violate parole repeatedly with little consequence. AB 109 bases parole solely on an offender’s commitment offense, resulting in the release of inmates with serious and violent criminal histories. Moreover, parolees who repeatedly violate the terms of their parole currently face few consequences, allowing them to remain on the street. In February 2017, just 10 days after being paroled, Michael Mejia shot and killed veteran Whittier Police Officer Keith Boyer in a gun battle. Mejia had a long criminal history and had been arrested five times in the seven months leading up to Officer Boyer’s death. This tragedy could have been avoided.

PORAC assisted in initial research in the Reducing Crime and Keeping California Safe Act of 2018 and has been meeting with stakeholders, but at the time this article was written has not taken an official position on the 2018 initiative.