The processes and mechanisms of the California law enforcement sector (police and sheriffs departments, California highway patrol, district attorneys, attorney general) are entirely secret by law and beyond the reach of public records law.
Information about specific peace officers is also off-limits according to a 1978 law, except in court-controlled discovery by a criminal defendant or by a civil plaintiff suing for an officer's alleged misconduct or excessive force. On August 31 2006, the California Supreme Court ruled that the public does not have access to police discipline records filed during administrative appeals, including the names of officers who have been terminated, unless the officers waive their rights to privacy (Copley Press Inc vs. Superior Court of San Diego). Yet all other state and local government employees are subject to the California Public Records Act that allows their disciplinary records on significant wrongdoing after a complaint investigation to become open, but retaining confidentiality for minor complaints or those that are found baseless. In a civil trial, any police record of an accused is considered in the proceedings during trial and the sentencing. There must not be a double standard of justice for police and the general public. This is particularly important for minority citizens who are often targeted multiple times by specific police e.g. use of extreme force; intimidation; entrapment; general abuse. Public police disciplinary hearings and disclosures would ENSURE that police rules were actually obeyed, and that the proceedings are transparent.
Meetings (face to face or electronic) dealing with wages and compensation for services rendered in all California publically funded organizations and institutions need to be open to the public to allow public comment. The Ralph M Brown Act must be enforced in all sectors of government. Currently, the Bagley-Keene Act allows the UC Regents to conduct closed meetings in regard to appointment, employment, performance, compensation or dismissal of university employees: this must be repealed. Sweetheart deals and "old boy" networks give the impression of impropriety.
It is also unacceptable public policy to permit secret deals that conceal evidence of dangers to the public.
Amend the California Public Records Act of 1978 to conform to the federal Freedom of Information Act relative to law enforcement confidentiality: that is, release of closed case files, withholding only matters of personal privacy, confidential informant identities, procedures, or guidelines, or facts whose release could endanger a person's safety.
Repeal the secrecy provisions of the 1978 Act and place peace officers under the same "bad apple" disclosure standard as other state government workers. Those entrusted with deadly force and the authority to detain, question, investigate, and arrest their fellow citizens need to be at least as publically accountable for serious wrongdoing as others in state public service.
Support any appeal of the California Supreme Court decision of August 31 2006 in the case of Copley Press Inc vs. Superior Court of San Diego
Consider the past record of an accused police officer during police disciplinary hearings that must also be made public to verify any failure of self-policing.
Identify problem police officers in public Police Commission Reports e.g. those involved in multiple shootings, in beatings of prisoners, and in violent and non-consensual acts (including on fellow officers); all who had disciplinary action; officer witnesses to fellow officer violence or non-consensual acts who did not protest or attempt to stop the violence or acts; and those who entrap/frame Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender people for sexual "offences" or who entrap gang members by pushing drugs.
Identify in public Police Commission Reports police officers who accept bribes and gifts, steal drugs, and push drugs.
Mandate that meetings (face to face or electronic) dealing with wages and compensation for services rendered in all publically funded organizations and institutions must be open to the public with at least one month's notice, for example, for state universities, the University of California, Prisons, State Agencies, State Committees. The Ralph M Brown Act must be enforced in all sectors of state Government. Currently, the Bagley-Keene Act allows the UC Regents to conduct closed meetings in regard to appointment, employment, performance, compensation or dismissal of university employees: this must be repealed.
Mandate that all information pertinent to the safety of the public relative to commercial products (like drugs, pesticides, foods, animals, and crops) and industrial facilities (like settlements for damage to the environment or to injured people) be public information. Judges must not grant secrecy protection relative to commercial products and industrial facilities where public safety is involved even when lawyers of both sides are agreeable.
Support the repeal of Title 5 United States Code Section 552 c (1) (B). The GPCA supports legislation that requires law enforcement to notify the people to be investigated.