100 signatures reached
To: Governor Gavin Newsom, CA State Legislature, CA Dept. of Consumer Affairs, AG Xavier Becerra
Require Police Licensing in California
As with many other professions, the State of California should require all law enforcement officers to obtain and maintain a license granted by the State to practice their profession. The license application process should require college education including criminal justice, extensive job training, standardized testing, and psychiatric evaluation. Licenses could be suspended or revoked for misconduct, in which case an officer would not be able to work as such in the state. Additionally, ALL police misconduct records should be publicly available.
Currently, in order to obtain a badge in California, a police cadet needs only a high school diploma or GED and 664 hours of academy training, while a licensed cosmetologist needs 1,600 hours of training. An incomplete list of State licensed professions includes: Teachers, Accountants, Acupuncturists, Architects, Landscape Architects, Automotive Repair, Barbers and Cosmetologists, Contractors, Social Workers and Therapists, Funeral Directors, Chiropractors, Court Reporters, Dentists and Hygienists, Bedding or Furniture Retailers, Doctors, Nurses, Engineers, Optometrists, Physical Therapists, Fiduciaries, Psychologists, Midwives, Private Investigators, Security Guards, Veterinarians...
As with other professions, it should be the applicant's responsibility to obtain the education, experience, and testing required to obtain the license before being employed as a law enforcement officer - NOT the local department's financial responsibility.
Currently, California is one of only five states in the country that doesn’t “decertify” an officer for misconduct — or essentially take away a license to work in law enforcement. Instead, almost all hiring and firing decisions are up to local departments.
Why is this important?
The murders of George Floyd, Sean Monterrosa, Stephon Clark, Oscar Grant and many, many other instances of racism, brutality and murder by police, highlight the need for major reforms in law enforcement, including enhanced training, transparency, and accountability. We can no longer allow police departments to self-regulate. Too often, police misconduct gets swept under the rug, and officers are able to continue working or transfer to another department after documented instances of misconduct. Police are granted extraordinary power and authority over the rest of us and carry around dangerous weapons, yet they have less training, experience, or oversight than many others who perform valuable services to our community.