By Shaun Rundle, Legislative & Region Affairs Representative.
The Racial and Identify Profiling Act of 2015, or AB 953, was signed by Governor Brown two years ago. In addition to altering the definition of racial profiling to include identify profiling, AB 953 mandated yearly agency reporting to DOJ on all stops conducted by the agency’s officers. Since the bill’s passage, The Racial and Identify Profiling Advisory Board (RIPA) has been meeting to discuss the regulations of this reporting, often with public and law enforcement concern. RIPA’s first annual report must be presented by January 1, 2018.
Assembly member Shirley Weber (D-San Diego) authored AB 953 in 2015. It was a bill that was overwhelmingly opposed by various law enforcement groups, including CPOA. The author and the Democratic majority in the Legislature pushed the bill under the guides of a social statement the bill was making regarding people of color being perceived as stopped more by police. As the legislation was being heard in Senate Public Safety Committee, one Senator asked Dr. Weber how she expected local agencies to pay for the bill, and her subtle laughter-laden response was “maybe they’ll have less law suits to pay for, who knows!” Yet, the bill was signed by Governor Brown and local agencies must deal with the extremely burdensome implementation.
At its core, the bill does the following:
- The bill would require each state and local agency that employs peace officers to annually report to the Attorney General data on all stops, as defined, conducted by the agency’s peace officers, and require that data to include specified information, including the time, date, and location of the stop, and the reason for the stop.
- The bill would require an agency that employs 1,000 or more peace officers to issue its first annual report by April 1, 2019.
- The bill would require an agency that employs 667 or more but less than 1,000 peace officers to issue its first annual report by April 1, 2020.
- The bill would require an agency that employs 334 or more but less than 667 peace officers to issue its first annual report by April 1, 2022.
- The bill would require an agency that employs one or more but less than 334 peace officers to issue its first annual report by April 1, 2023.
The RIPA board that AB 953 created contains both law enforcement, public defender, and social justice groups, as well individuals prescribed by the Legislature. The board has held various meetings throughout the state since 2016, and activity is tracked on the DOJ’s AB 953 website. These RIPA board meetings have been open to the public, and several concerns have been raised about the reporting process, specifically that the bill prohibits an officer from asking a detainee their race, rather they have to mark on the citation what they perceive their race to be.
The RIPA board will present its first report of regulations and vehicle stop reporting formulas to DOJ by January 1, 2018.