Most police officers wear badges with honor and work hard to uphold our laws with a great sense of fairness and duty to our community. As the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Candidate in the June 2022 Primary Election, I pledge to drive smart reforms for our county’s largest law enforcement agency. It is well known that the sheriff’s office needs to build better relationships with the community it serves as it protects public safety.

The California legislature is to be credited with passing important reforms to reduce police misconduct and ensure transparency in the files of offenses committed by law enforcement personnel. Governor Gavin Newsom did the right thing by signing SB 2 and SB 16, along with six other law enforcement related bills.

SB 2 makes significant changes to some of the immunity provisions that protect police officers from full liability and will prevent law-breaking officers from moving from one department to another without consequence. It orders the State Commission on Standards and Training of Peace Officers to deny certification to peace officers who have used excessive force, committed sexual assault, displayed bias or carried out a false arrest.

California joins 46 other states in revoking an officer’s certification if convicted of such a crime. It complies with certification programs that apply to over 200 other professions, from lawyers and real estate agents to cosmetologists and contractors.

As a 32-year veteran of law enforcement, I have seen first-hand how a few bad cops have used statutory immunity and legal precedents to avoid the consequences of illegal behavior by quitting. one agency and getting a new police job in another. city.

A consortium of news agencies studied the 10-year period ending in 2019 and found that more than 600 officers in California were convicted of crimes such as assault, manslaughter, drunk driving or domestic violence – and over 20% of those 600 officers continued to work in law enforcement after conviction.

SB 16 lifts the veil of secrecy on portions of police personnel files that have received a “substantiated finding” of excessive force or violations, including sexual assault and dishonesty. It also requires that an agency considering hiring an experienced agent review that agent’s personnel file.

The governor also signed AB 26, which sets new standards for use of force policies, requiring officers to intervene when they witness excessive force by another officer.

Other new laws prohibit means of restraint and transportation that pose a substantial risk of serious injury to detainees; prohibit officers from firing rubber bullets or tear gas directly at peaceful protesters; requiring new officers to complete a program of study at community colleges; and requiring law enforcement agencies to seek approval from their local governing bodies when purchasing surplus military equipment.

Taken together, these bills propose important and sensible reforms that will ensure accountability and transparency among law enforcement personnel, while benefiting and protecting the majority of good officers and the public they serve.

Police chiefs, sheriffs and law enforcement task forces have been heavily involved in adjusting the legislation, which provides appropriate protections for the privacy rights of all officers.

I’m also a strong supporter of Measure P, passed by 64% of Sonoma voters in 2020, and the oversight agency it bolstered, the Independent Office of Law Enforcement Review and Outreach. I firmly believe that public oversight is a real asset for effective law enforcement, and I will work with elected officials, community advocates and labor groups to fully implement the P measure.

These changes will not only save lives, they will reduce multi-million dollar claims and the skyrocketing cost of liability insurance, paid for by us, the taxpayers of Sonoma County.

With your support, as the new sheriff, we can implement smart reforms that improve public safety and confidence.

Carl Tennenbaum retired from the San Francisco Police Department after 32 years of service. He and his wife Angela live in Sevastopol.

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