California police chief group calls for national police reforms

The California Police Chiefs Association on Thursday announced that they are calling for national police reforms modeled after California’s law that includes legislation requiring deescalation, among other things.

The formal change in platform comes after weeks of protests nationwide over the death of George Floyd, who was killed after a Minnesota police officer kneeled on his neck for nearly nine minutes. After video of the killing spread online and sparked outrage, police chiefs across the nation, including Long Beach’s chief Robert Luna, condemned the actions of the officers.

In many protests, police departments responded with riot gear, firing tear gas and “less-lethal” rounds into crowds, further escalating tensions with their communities.

Protests in Long Beach have pushed city leaders to create a plan to address racial injustice, start police reform and create policy changes to address historic inequalities, dubbed “Framework for Reconciliation.”

Los Alamitos Police Chief Eric Nunez laid out the new guiding principles and policies the organization would be calling for, including:

  • Condemning all acts of excessive force and racial bias treatment.
  • Acknowledging the impacts of racism in law enforcement.
  • Calling for national legislation that includes requiring officers to render aid following use of force and deescalate when safe. They also want restrictions on the uses of tear gas and rubber bullets on protesters.
  • Ensuring accountability by decertifying police officers found with sustained histories of misconduct and the creation of a tracking system for officers who resign while under investigation or set to be fired.
  • Recruiting and retaining diverse qualified officers.
  • Supporting officers with better mental health services.
  • More racial and implicit bias training.

“California needs to lead the way so our nation can follow,” Nunez said, noting that the CPCA has led discussions and supported legislation regarding police transparency in Sacramento.

CPCA represents about 330 municipal police department chiefs in the state, including Long Beach.

“It is evident that our nation remains host to structural divides caused by racial injustice, and although peace officers are not the root cause of this, we are also not immune from the impacts of our shared past,” Nunez said. “This transformative platform will ensure greater accountability for California’s law enforcement agencies and will prioritize the safety and shared security of the communities we serve.”

Nunez also noted that police reform itself would not solve all the problems in the country and that housing, education, mental health services, rehabilitation and other reforms must also happen at the same time.

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Valerie Osier is the Social Media & Newsletter Manager for the Long Beach Post. She started at the Post in 2018 as a breaking news reporter. She’s a Riverside native who found her love for journalism while at community college. She graduated from the Cal State Long Beach journalism program in 2017 and covered the Palos Verdes Peninsula for the Daily Breeze prior to coming to the Post. She lives in Long Beach with her husband and two cats.