Efforts to mandate and regulate the use of body-worn cameras and to establish a panel to independently review all deadly uses of force by law enforcement personnel in California are gaining some momentum, with the introduction of three independent bills in the State Assembly. While none has advanced to the point of having formal statutory language, the purpose of each is clearly stated.

Assembly Bill 69 states: “It is the intent of the legislature to enact legislation to require all peace officers statewide to wear body cameras to capture their interactions with the public.”

Assembly Bill 66 states: “(a) It is the intent of the legislature to enact legislation to require local police departments that utilize policy body-worn cameras to follow policies and procedures that will streamline best practices to better enhance the quality of the services that those departments provide to Californians. (b) It is further the intent of the legislature to enact legislation to create a task force to study the effectiveness of body-worn cameras for peace officers, and for this task force to create a comprehensive policy and best practices manual to be used by state and local law enforcement agencies. It is further the intent of the legislature to enact legislation that best fits the recommendations of this task force.”

Assembly Bill 86 states: “It is the intent of the Legislature to enact legislation to establish, within the Department of Justice, an independent review panel to investigate and provide an independent review of peace officer involved shootings and other uses of force resulting in death.”

Obviously the subject matter of these bills is of grave importance to those of you in the law enforcement community, and the potential impact cannot be determined until draft statutory language is developed.