Briefing Room: Peace Officer Standards and Training

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Hi Seal Beach!

I hope everyone had a very happy and safe New Year and are ready to start 2022!

Like every January 1st, there’s a handful of new laws that hit the books in California.  In fact, this year 770 new laws were signed into existence.  The vast majority of them are not criminal statutes and have to do with items related to school start times, composting, minimum wage, vote by mail, single-use plastic utensils and many more.  The State also created a pilot program that will allow people to collect and eat “deer, elk, pronghorn antelope, or wild pig” roadkill (with prior permission and a State-issued permit).

In my humble opinion, one of the most important new laws is one that deals with police reform.  Senate Bill 2 (SB 2) became effective on January 1, 2022.  In part this law creates a peace officer decertification program.  What does this mean?

Most California law enforcement agencies operate under minimum standards set forth by the Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST).  POST issues professional certificates to police officers at different milestones in their careers.  Starting with graduation from the police academy, police officers are issued a Basic certificate and can apply for Intermediate, Advanced, Supervisory, Management, and Executive certificates after meeting requirements such as rank, training, formal education, and time on the job.

SB 2 now gives POST the authority to revoke certificates of officers who have committed acts of serious misconduct.  Police officers who are terminated for cause, or have engaged in misconduct such as dishonesty; abuse of power; physical abuse; sexual assault; bias of race, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, disability or other protected status; failure to intercede when observing unnecessary use of force; and other criteria.

SB 2 also requires law enforcement agencies to contact POST before hiring any police officer who has been previously employed with another agency to find out why the officer left that department and under what terms.

There is much more to this law and the full text can be found here: https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billTextClient.xhtml?bill_id=202120220SB2

What’s important is that the community knows that the SBPD embraces these new requirements.  Look, good cops only want to work with good cops.  SB 2 helps to ensure that bad police officers can no longer be police officers and will not be able to put their community, and the good cops they work with, at risk.  The Seal Beach Police Department is largely a department of lateral officers, meaning they have worked at previous departments before making the jump to the SBPD.  We’ve always done thorough background investigations on every potential police department employee.  For those applicants with previous law enforcement experience, we always have our background investigators check with the former agencies to find out why the applicant left.  SB 2 only strengthens what professional law enforcement agencies are already doing.  Bottom line, we support the professionalism of law enforcement.

For more about the professionalism of the SBPD, check out the Seal Beach FOCUSED campaign printed in this week’s paper.  When you’re done with that, email me your questions at askacop@sealbeachca.gov today!

Happy New Year!

Briefing Room: Peace Officer Standards and Training