Statement on Proposed Legislation to Decimate Law Enforcement's Ability to Safely Respond to Dangerous Encounters

San Jose, CA - Yesterday, with much fanfare and little forethought as to the dangerous implications for police officer and public safety, AB 931 was introduced in Sacramento to dramatically restrict the ability of law enforcement officers to safely respond to dangerous encounters. See the Sacramento Bee story here. The San Jose Police Officers' Association Board of Directors issued the following statement in response:

"Currently, San Jose Police Officers are trained and required to de-escalate dangerous situations and to preserve life whenever it is feasible and safe to do so. At the same time, police officers must be able to protect their personal safety and the safety of innocent bystanders.

AB 931 will put officers in further danger and is about political expediency and not sound public policy. The authors have no idea what transpires physically, emotionally and mentally, prior to an officer discharging their weapon. They did not seek input about their bill from front line law enforcement officers and instead chose to grandstand on the heels of the tragic shooting in Sacramento to launch the latest assault on your personal safety.

This bill, as we understand it, will result in more dangerous encounters with suspects and will cause officers to not engage and stop suspects who threaten the public's safety or their own safety. The new proposal demands that officers have a Monday Morning Quarterback's perspective before game day on Sunday. By the time the checklist of de-escalation, non-lethal alternatives, verbal commands and whatever else is required prior to an officer engaging to stop a threat are attempted, the officer will be dead.

Police work is an inherently dangerous profession and this knee-jerk bill will only make it worse. Police officers who have been killed by firearms are up by 67% compared to last year. Unfortunately, this bill was cooked up with the lobbyists from the ACLU and does not provide any perspective from actual police officers, if enacted it will either get cops killed or allow criminals to terrorize our streets unchecked. Pick one. It's one thing to criticize from your keyboard or from behind a microphone at a press conference, it's another to actually work in the very real and dangerous world of policing our neighborhoods to try and keep them safe."