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Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Access to Police Disciplinary Hearings Subject of Cali Bill

A state senator hopes to revive a controversial bill that would increase media access to disciplinary hearings and records involving Los Angeles Police Department officers.

The legislation, according to Sen. Gloria Romero (D-Los Angeles), was encouraged by Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, and has already generated sharp criticism from the union that represents LAPD officers.

Last year, Romero sponsored similar, yet more far-reaching, legislation that sought to overturn a state Supreme Court ruling that effectively barred law enforcement agencies from releasing personnel information.

The legislation passed the Senate, but stalled in the Assembly's public safety committee. Members of the panel refused to discuss it or vote on it after leaders from several influential law enforcement unions spoke vociferously against it.

Union leaders argued that the law would endanger police officers' lives by making it easier for disgruntled members of the public to track them down -- although they could not cite cases in which officers had suffered such harm before the Supreme Court's ruling, when the public enjoyed greater access to disciplinary information.

More here.

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