By: Shaun Rundle, CPOA Deputy Director.
Just prior to breaking for their summer recess, legislators in Sacramento hustled to amend dozens of pieces of legislation regarding crowd control and riot response, use of force mandates, carotid restraints and even how law enforcement in California should dress. With headlines comes legislation, so it comes as no surprise in the wake of recent events nationwide. CPOA is not interested in scoring political points on these issues, as legislators and governors come and go. I am, however, committed to voicing your concerns and opinions as they impact a noble profession.
When the Legislature reconvenes at the end of August, they will take up various issues. Many of those issues are concerning different use of force responses, including use of kinetic energy projectiles, carotid restraints and chokeholds, use of force settlements, independent investigations, and riot and protest response. A common thread among these proposals, are that legislators fail to grasp many of the basic concepts of crowd control and de-escalation tactics.
One bill that our Law & Legislation Committee spend considerable time on last week, was AB 1196 (Gipson-D). Originally a bill dealing with education, AB 1196 was gutted in June, to restrict a LE agency from authorizing the use of a carotid restraint or a choke hold. Just a few weeks later, and as CPOA was discussing it with the author, it was amended last week to additionally outlaw “techniques or transport methods that involve a substantial risk of positional asphyxia,” as defined to include ‘putting weight on the subject’s back or neck or a prolonged period, or keep a subject waiting for transportation in a restrained position.” Well, you can see how this could be problematic.
In addition to use of force proposals, recent legislation also says that that LE cannot wear any type of “substantially similar” uniform to the United States Armed Forces. Again, there is a lock of understanding of ‘similar’ types of vestments, such as MOLLE vest, which serves an ergonomic benefit to agency personnel.
For a list of recent bill proposals, as well as discussions that our Law & Legislation Committee had, click here.
Barring any other COVID-19 cases in the Capitol, the Legislature is scheduled to resume business on July 27th.