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State Attorney General calls for policy reforms

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Posted at 9:03 PM, Jun 15, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-16 00:03:16-04

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KGTV) - California's Attorney General announced a series of proposed policy reforms aimed at improving use-of-force procedures, addressing issues around bias in policing, and increasing accountability and transparency.

In a virtual press conference, Attorney General Xavier Becerra said the proposals are serious and will help make a difference.

The reforms include changes such as requiring officers to intervene to stop another officer from using excessive or unnecessary force and requiring officers to de-escalate before using force.

"What I'm asking today is that all of our sister agencies who do law enforcement in the state of California look closely at these proposals, where they're already enshrined in law and therefore will be requirements soon, let's see if we can accelerate that," Becerra said. "Let's see if we can show the people of California that we can start doing this work without having to be required to do it."

Some of the proposals are laws that have already been passed and are set to take effect in January 2021.

One of Becerra’s proposals is to ban carotid restraints. Two weeks ago, departments across San Diego County dropped the controversial use-of-force technique.

Along with the proposals, Becerra also called on lawmakers to address legislation that would decertify police officers for serious misconduct, expand reviews of law enforcement policies, and place limits on crowd control techniques during protests or mass gatherings, to name a few.

A spokesperson for the San Diego County Sheriff's Department released a statement to 10News saying in part, "The San Diego County Sheriff's Department is reviewing the proposed reforms stated by the California Attorney General. We take seriously all of the recommendations and are taking steps to review or enact the ones we do not have in place. Our expectation, training and practice is that deputies will intervene when they observe another deputy or officer using excessive force. We are currently putting that into policy. On June 3rd, we along with other agencies in the region banned the use of the carotid restraint by our personnel. We have been training and have policy regarding de-escalation, verbal warnings, prohibition of shooting at moving vehicles and the use of deadly force. We are studying the Attorney General's other recommendations for possible implementation. Law enforcement legitimacy is the cornerstone to public trust. The Sheriff's Department is committed to ensuring public and deputy safety and we will continue to review best practices in order to do that."