California Police Chiefs Association releases platform calling for major changes, reforms
–On Friday, leaders of the California Police Chiefs Association (CPCA) announced a platform of guiding principles and policies outlining an inclusive strategy intended to bring law enforcement together with community leaders, elected officials, and social justice organizations across the state.
Reforms include calling for a nationwide use-of-force policy standard modeled after California law, expansion of accountability and disciplinary actions, an increased emphasis on transparency, ongoing focus on diversity in recruitment, programmatic support for officer mental health and wellness, and continued development of specific training practices.
Of the formally adopted platform, newly elected CPCA president, Eric R. Nuñez, said:
“As an association representing over 26 million Californians, CPCA condemns all acts of excessive force and racially biased policing in the country. It is evident that our nation remains host to structural divides caused by racial injustice, and although peace officers are not the root cause of this, we are also not immune from the impacts of our shared past. This transformative platform will ensure greater accountability for California’s law enforcement agencies and will prioritize the safety and shared security of the communities we serve”.
Key elements of the platform include:
- Department policies: Nationwide use-of-force policy requirements, emphasis on de-escalation, national adoption of requirements to intercede against excessive force, protection of peaceful protests and the right to free speech and alignment with California law.
- Officer accountability: Formal decertification of officers under specified circumstances, the creation of a tracking system for resigning officers that are under investigation or set to be terminated, and support for mandating the Attorney General investigate deadly force incidents if requested by a local agency.
- Transparency: Public disclosure of police personnel files related to use of force resulting in death or great bodily injury, sexual assault and other serious job-related misconduct. Furthermore, mandating the public disclosure of all law enforcement policies.
- Recruitment and retention: Diversification of police recruiting efforts, increased representation of minority communities in law enforcement agencies, and improvements to psychological assessments and other standards currently utilized to identify potential police candidates.
- Mental health and awareness: Support funding for programs to improve peace officers’ mental health and implementation of mandatory health and wellness checks to ensure the continued stability and safety of officers.
- Training: Continued expansion of training programs aimed specifically at de-escalation, alternatives to deadly force, implicit and racial bias, and cultural and community awareness.
- Reforms outside policing: Increased educational resources for historically disadvantaged communities to close the achievement gap, close collaboration with requisite professionals to provide appropriate response services to those in crisis, growth in vocational training and job opportunities, increased rehabilitative and re-entry services, and an emphasis on access to fair housing.
“Although a prominent step in the right direction, police reform, in and of itself, will not resolve the socio-economic and racial divides in our country,” commented President Nuñez. “Rather, a holistic approach that incorporates equal education, mental health services, substance abuse treatment, rehabilitation services, housing, and vocational opportunities must be adopted in tandem.”
The modernized platform not only guides internal policy and programmatic change for law enforcement, it seeks to align police conduct with the expectations of the communities we serve while holding every officer and agency to an equal standard for all Californians.
The California Police Chiefs Association represents the state’s municipal police chiefs whose agencies protect over 26 million Californians.