Endorsing a dramatic departure from decades of secrecy surrounding policing in the state, California lawmakers have moved to undo some of the nation’s strictest rules keeping law enforcement records confidential, particularly involving officer killings of civilians.
Legislators approved two landmark measures late Friday, one that would give the public access to internal investigations of police shootings statewide, and another that would allow the release of body camera footage of those incidents.
Supporters of the legislation, which must be signed by the governor to become law, said it would boost confidence in law enforcement at a time when multiple disputed police incidents have led to protests in California and nationwide.
The bills “open up some transparency to help rebuild that trust between law enforcement and communities,” said Sen. Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley), author of the open-records bill. “Public safety requires the cooperation and trust of a community.”