Transparency Paper

Exclusively available on PapersOwl
Updated: Aug 20, 2023
Cite this
Date added
Pages:  3
Order Original Essay

How it works

Governor Jerry Brown signed bill SB1421, which allows the public to view investigations of officer shootings, serious uses of force, sexual misconducts, and lying. California’s confidentiality laws had previously protected police officer privacy, prohibiting the public from knowing what typically occurs during the investigations of these misconducts and their respective outcomes. This bill emphasizes the struggle that has existed for years between the public’s right to know and officers’ individual privacy rights. The bill will benefit the public interest by exposing accountability, bias, misconducts, and dishonesty from police officers.

Need a custom essay on the same topic?
Give us your paper requirements, choose a writer and we’ll deliver the highest-quality essay!
Order now

Opponents argue that SB1421 doesn’t clarify whether police agencies should release records prior to January 1, 2019. Police unions and the Los Angeles Police Protective League, in particular, are against retroactively addressing cases prior to this bill. This is why many police departments have destroyed and shredded many cases; they believe it violates police officers’ rights and privacy. An article released by the Desert Sun News expresses concerns from police departments about retroactively introducing cases; it could open up public records that could expose them to civil lawsuits they cannot afford. The police unions believe it would be unjustified to retroactively address cases as it can expose officers to prosecutions for actions that were legal at the time but are now considered illegal.

Indeed, a second argument against SB1421 is presented in an article released by KQED, which explains how police officers are extremely frustrated with this bill, fearing that “releasing such records could change law enforcement when dealing with situations involving force.” Police unions worry it might discourage officers from entering dangerous situations where their help is needed, and would compromise their ability to react efficiently and effectively. The article states that “Officers will be thinking, ‘Should I really be doing this?'”. Overall, police officers will be concerned about their public image and the judgement they may face. These records will be exposed to the media, the public, and families.

The strongest argument in the opposition is presented by the California police union, who are preparing to fight for police officers’ privacy in court. An article released by LA Times claims that the unions argue it would violate the officer’s right to privacy, especially if their personal information is disclosed in the reports. Attorney General Xavier Becerra supports police privacy and suggests that by releasing police records, it would overturn a longstanding law granting police special privacy protections.

In an article released by KTLA5, he says, “I’ve always taken the position that when it comes to privacy, you get one chance to do it right and if you disclose someone’s private information and you were wrong, you can’t un-ring that bell. That private information is now out there for everyone to see and you cannot pull it back.” Being a police officer is a demanding role, which grants them extensive power and confronts them with life-or-death situations. Police officers often face threats relating to their life, family, and other factors. By releasing these records, we risk exposing these officers to harm, regardless of whether they did the right thing or not.

Therefore, the California police union is ready to battle for police officers’ privacy in court. The first argument against SB 1421, in an article released by the LA Times, is that it would violate the officers’ right to privacy, especially if their personal information is included in the reports. According to an article released by KQED, the police union is frustrated with this new bill; by releasing such records, it could alter the execution of law enforcement when confronting situations involving force. They also suggest that “it might discourage police from entering dangerous situations where their help is needed.”

In addition, the LA Times believes Bill 1421 is a move towards increasing trust between law enforcement and the public. Melina Abdullah, a professor of Pan-African Studies at Cal State L.A. and a member of the Black Lives Matter movement, says, “For years, black, brown, indigenous, and poor communities have been subjected to systemic harassment, violence, and brutality by the police but had little recourse to pursue justice.” In an article released by KTVU, they convey that the American Civil Liberties Union advocates for the public’s ability to see and evaluate the quality of investigations into police misconduct and other allegations. This information is critical for the community to maintain faith in law enforcement. By releasing these records, the public is allowed to scrutinize whether police officers are displaying bias or racially profiling any type of race.

There are numerous cases where an officer “stopped drivers without reasonable suspicion, based on nothing more than the fact they were leaving the parking lot of a bar. He mocked the drivers he pulled over, recorded evidence of impairment that did not objectively exist, and arrested them without probable cause.”

The deadline is too short to read someone else's essay
Hire a verified expert to write you a 100% Plagiarism-Free paper

Cite this page

Transparency Paper. (2021, Oct 15). Retrieved from