California has some of the strictest police protection of personnel files. These recent laws are an effort to increase public transparency and match the rest of the country. The newest law passed in October, SB 16, focuses on disclosure of files after and investigation.
sustained - the conduct occurred and it was in violation of law or policy
unfounded - the conduct didn't occur
exonerated - conduct occurred, but was in compliance with law
not sustained - we couldn't come to preponderance of evidence
Sustained is the only outcome that is required to be reported on.
Step 1: A complaint is made by either the 1) public, 2) officer self reports, 3) officer’s boss
Step 2: Agency accepts complaint. Oakland is required to accept every complaint. There could be multiple allegations per complaint, incident based. Est 1400 complaints in 2018.
Step 3: Agency evaluates complaint. Most do not become actual investigations. Est. 650 turn into some form of an investigation. 100 are just summary findings, 100 serious enough to go to investigations section.
Step 4: Review of the footage and reports is done by multiple different groups (ex: homicide, IA, oversight board). They all come to the conclusion of whether the complaint is “sustained” or not.
Step 5: Only if sustained - one group redacts the files and disciplinary documents to make them available the public.
Where could Truleo be helpful here? Unreported use of force, audits, compliance check, early warning
New Reporting Implications
What this means for agencies
More work: Agencies will face additional work to produce more police records and police personnel files.
More requests: Every California law enforcement agency can expect to receive requests for each new category of disclosure if this law goes into effect. As with the passage of SB 1421, a flurry of litigation may also ensue and disputes over the law’s application will garner substantial public interest.
Agencies will be required to maintain records related to sustained findings of misconduct for a much longer period (min 15 years for sustained)
Records shall be provided at the "earliest possible time" not later than 45 days from the date of request
Historical Data: Many more records will be disclosable public records on 1.1.23
Whistleblowers and victims are added to the list of persons whose identities are required to remain confidential/redacted
Officer ID baseball card: Mandatory for a law enforcement agency to request and review any record of investigation from a previous employing agency involving the lateral officer prior to employing that peace officer.
What tools do CA agencies currently use to comply?
GovQA-Veritone Redact (FOIA Software)
RMS: 1) Investigative Reports, 2) Video, Audio, Transcripts, 3) Redaction