Assemblymember Salas Champions Bill to Prevent Hiring of Bad Cops
SACRAMENTO, CA – Assemblymember Rudy Salas (D-Bakersfield) is authoring new legislation that will improve the way law enforcement hires its officers. Assembly Bill (AB) 1299 will help make sure that local departments do not hire problematic officers who have a history of serious misconduct.
“This bill will provide more background information to our local departments to make sure that they are not hiring bad officers,” said Assemblymember Salas. “It is unacceptable that some officers are able hide their past mistakes and slip through the cracks. AB 1299 will create accountability for officers with questionable pasts and help departments hire people who will properly serve our communities.”
Last year, it was reported that the City of McFarland hired at least 13 officers who had trouble at other agencies. In some circumstances, law enforcement agencies may not be aware of an officer’s past misconduct due to the tactic of resigning in lieu of termination. This practice describes a situation where an officer, who is being investigated for misconduct, resigns before the investigation is complete.
“It is imperative that we hold our officers to the highest of standards and ensure that they are accountable for the actions they commit while in the performance of their duties,” said Hanford Police Chief, Parker Sever. “This bill will ensure that serious offensives committed by officers are investigated, reported and accessible to agencies considering the hiring of a potential officer.”
When an officer resigns in lieu of termination, their investigation usually stops and never concludes. This practice allows such officers to make lateral moves and apply to work at a different agency. According to the Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST), there have been 10,368 resignations of full-time peace officers between 2015 and 2019.
AB 1299 will address these issues by requiring law enforcement agencies to complete misconduct investigations and notify POST of its findings so that the commission can include this information in an officer’s background material to be available to superiors when they are considering hiring such individuals.
Assemblymember Salas represents part of the City of Bakersfield, the cities of Arvin, Hanford, Corcoran, Delano, Lemoore, McFarland, Shafter, Wasco, and the communities of Armona, Avenal, Buttonwillow, Home Garden, Kettleman City, Lamont, Lost Hills, Stratford and Weedpatch.