The Renne Public Law Group Founding Partner Arthur Hartinger provided key insights to State Bill (SB) 1421 and Assembly Bill (AB) 748 during the California Personnel Administrator Association of California (CPAAC) Annual Conference in Lodi, California. Mr. Hartinger’s session took place on Friday, March 29 at 10:30 a.m.
SB 1421 is a new bill that went into effect on January 1, 2019 that mandates the release of police officers’ personnel files involving all deputy involved shootings, use of force situations causing great bodily injury, and sustained complaints of dishonesty and sexual assault. Similarly, AB 748 requires agencies to produce video and audio recordings of “critical incidents” in response to California Public Records Act (CPRA) requests. These incidents are defined as involving the discharge of a firearm at a person by a peace officer or custodial officer, or an incident in which the use of force by a peace officer or custodial officer against a person resulted in death or great bodily injury. AB 748 will go into effect on July 1, 2019.
Both bills require major changes in how law enforcement agencies respond to requests for peace officer personnel records. Mr. Hartinger spoke to the underlying structure of the CPRA and how the bills work in conjunction with constitutional rights. He then identified current and potential issues. Cases have been brought in various counties throughout the state to address whether the requirement to disclose records that were previously confidential apply to records created prior to the SB 1421 effective date. In some cases, temporary restraining orders (TROs) were issued. The Supreme Court has denied direct petitions for writs at this time.
Mr. Hartinger closed the session with a in-depth discussion with attendees on the future of police agencies and how the bills will affect them. He and RPLG will continue to monitor the bills’ effects on California agencies.
RPLG practices throughout California, advising and advocating for public agencies, nonprofit entities, individuals and private entities in need of effective, responsive and creative legal solutions.