AB 2327 requires CA police agencies to review officer history before hiring

Posted by Neil Shouse | Nov 08, 2018 | 0 Comments

personnel file
Any state agency hiring a law enforcement officer must now review that officer’s history of public complaints, and any investigations conducted therein, prior to employment.

Assembly Bill 2327 was signed into law by Gov. Brown in September 2018. According to the bill, any state agency hiring a law enforcement officer must now review that officer's history of public complaints, and any investigations conducted therein, prior to employment.

AB 2327 marks a change in California law. Prior to the bill, an agency hiring an officer was under no obligation to review that person's personnel file, which includes documentation on public complaints and investigations.

New Laws Under Assembly Bill 2327

Existing California law states that if an agency employs law enforcement personnel, that agency must have a procedure to investigate public complaints made against these staff members.

Further, any complaints made against an officer, and any investigations or findings related to those complaints, must be kept within an officer's personnel file.

Assembly Bill 2327 now requires state agencies to review these materials pre-employment. That is, any agency hiring an officer must review that officer's personnel file – namely, the officer's history of complaints/misconduct and any investigations contained therein.

Laws Prior to Assembly Bill 2327

AB 2327 significantly changed California's laws on the hiring of law enforcement officers. Under the State's old law, agencies still had to have a procedure for investigating public complaints made against an officer.

These agencies were also obligated to document any complaints made against an officer, and any related investigations and findings, in that officer's personnel file.

However, California law never stated that an agency had to review these materials pre-employment. If a state agency was contemplating hiring an officer, that agency was never required to review that officer's history of complaints/misconduct – until now.

Reasoning for Assembly Bill 2327

Supporters of AB 2327 state that the new law requiring misconduct review is beneficial for three main reasons. These are:

  1. It fosters the hiring of quality officers with sound and reputable backgrounds;
  2. It promotes fairness within the hiring process; and,
  3. It seeks to reduce instances of police misconduct.

As to the latter reason, the logic here is that officers will be less likely to engage in instances of misconduct if they know the documentation of these acts will be reviewed prior to another job.

Police misconduct in California, and instances involving an officer's use of excessive force, have remained at national attention for several years now. Last year, the Department of Justice released, for the first time ever, data regarding police use of force. In particular, this data was on violent encounters between police and citizens.

Two sets of statistics are important to note with regards to this data. These are that in 2016:

  • 832 civilians in California were involved in incidents where an officer discharged a firearm or used force that resulted in serious injury or death; and,
  • Of these civilians, 531 were injured and 157 died.

Assembly Bill 2327 was introduced in February of 2018 by Bill Quirk. The bill adds Section 832.12 to the California Penal Code.

About the Author

Neil Shouse

A former Los Angeles prosecutor, attorney Neil Shouse graduated with honors from UC Berkeley and Harvard Law School (and completed additional graduate studies at MIT). He has been featured on CNN, Good Morning America, Dr Phil, Court TV, The Today Show and Court TV. Mr Shouse has been recognized by the National Trial Lawyers as one of the Top 100 Criminal and Top 100 Civil Attorneys.


There are no comments for this post. Be the first and Add your Comment below.

Leave a Comment

Comments have been disabled.

Free attorney consultations...

The attorneys at Shouse Law Group bring more than 100 years collective experience fighting for individuals. We're ready to fight for you. Call us 24 hours a day, 365 days a year at 855-LAW-FIRM for a free case evaluation.

Regain peace of mind...

Shouse Law Defense Group has multiple locations throughout California. Click Office Locations to find out which office is right for you.

Office Locations

Shouse Law Group has multiple locations all across California, Nevada, and Colorado. Click Office Locations to find out which office is right for you.

Call us 24/7 (855) 396-0370