LOS ANGELES - Attorney General Kamala D. Harris today issued an information bulletin to California law enforcement agencies outlining new responsibilities under state law to report incidents involving shootings or any use of force that results in serious bodily injury or death of a civilian or a peace officer.
AB 71 (Rodriguez), which was supported by Attorney General Harris, requires all California law enforcement agencies starting January 1, 2016 to begin collecting data on incidents involving the shooting of a civilian by a peace officer, the shooting of a peace officer by a civilian, as well as data on incidents involving use of force by a civilian/peace officer against the other that result in serious bodily injury or death. An annual report of data must be submitted to the California Department of Justice beginning January 1, 2017.
“As a career prosecutor, I have always known one central truth: the public and law enforcement need each other to keep our communities safe. I am proud to implement landmark legislation requiring reporting from law enforcement agencies to the California Department of Justice on shooting and use of force incidents,” said Attorney General Harris. “California is leading the nation in promoting accountability through open data, which will strengthen trust between law enforcement and the communities that we are sworn to protect.”
As a part of the bulletin, the Attorney General distributed a use of force incident template to inform law enforcement agencies and officers of the required data fields that must be submitted to the Department of Justice. This template was created with input from stakeholders including Assemblymember Rodriguez’ office, California law enforcement associations, state and local law enforcement agencies, and advocacy groups. The template and its accompanying instructions are also available on the California Law Enforcement Web and on the California Department of Justice website: http://oag.ca.gov/law.
In order to make reporting less cumbersome for officers, the Department of Justice will be working with select law enforcement agencies to develop and field test a web-based data collection system that will allow law enforcement to track and submit use of force data electronically. Once user tested and accepted, all law enforcement agencies will be able to track data internally as well as report data electronically utilizing this system. This new web-based collection system will dramatically improve the quality and efficiency of data collection by the Department.
In 2017, use of force data collected by the Department of Justice under the new law will also be published on the Attorney General’s OpenJustice Dashboard and Data Portal, which was launched in September 2015. OpenJustice is a first-of-its-kind criminal justice open data initiative that releases unprecedented data and provides user-friendly visualization tools. The Dashboard spotlights key metrics and embraces transparency in the criminal justice system to strengthen trust, enhance government accountability, and inform public policy. Attorney General Harris began by releasing data on: (1) Deaths in Custody, (2) Arrest Rates and (3) Law Enforcement Officers Killed and Assaulted.
Since January 2015, Attorney General Harris has taken several steps to strengthen the trust between law enforcement and California communities. These actions include: