Eber: Government over reach comes with SB-831

By Stephen Frank, California Political News and Views

Should SB 831 pass, police will no longer shoot criminals.  Based on this bill every shooting will cause a lawsuit, criminal investigation and the end of a law enforcement career.  The losers will be the criminals.  Huh?  Because this will force even the most Progressive of emotional disturbed activist to be forced to carry a gun to protect themselves, like the Old West—police will give parking tickets and little else—if you have a police force.

“This brings us to the central issue when things go wrong and violence ensues in dealing with the police and citizens whom they monitor.  It is called following direct commands.  In almost every case when a shooting or use of tasers is involved, a policeman gives an order to a suspect to stop, not move, and to await the next directive.  When this does not happen and a pocket is reached in, regardless of the reason, this is where the odds go up for an unfortunate result.

One thing that has to be always is realized is that when physical resistance is involved with the police, the risk of increased violence occurs the next time these forces clash. Trying to blame the police completely for such an unfortunate outcome does not seem fair,”

Guess the Democrats could call Antifa or Al Sharpton if a criminal attacks them—no police will show up.

Back in the day I was a pretty good baseball umpire whose services were very much in demand. Even so, like everyone else who has plied this trade, mistakes were made.  However, even when I booted calls, those individuals impacted by my poor judgment went home to their families with no further consequences. 

It isn’t always this way in real life. When law enforcement officers draw their weapons, the ramifications can be much greater than winning or losing a game.  Lives are on the line that can change in an instant once a trigger is squeezed. Unfortunately, there are no instant replays that can reverse deadly force.

Because of this fact of life police officers are well trained and equipped with up to date electronic and safety items to reduce risk for them and those for whom they have contact.

Despite guidelines in place for use of lethal force of every police department mostly modeled after the Chicago’s 9 page 51 topic memo, gray area crops up virtually every day for law enforcement.   Even with increased use of body cams, things aren’t always what they appear to be.

Naturally, use of deadly force is the most controversial aspect in the Rules of Engagement for those who proudly wear blue.  Every time there is any officer involved shooting, use of mace or stun guns, there are always skeptics who say less violent means could have been used to rectify the problem.  This negative attitude is especially present on Police Review Boards who tend to be populated by law enforcement critics.

For civilian bodies trying to determine procedures for the police, we need to go no further than Chicago which has one of the highest murder rates in the country.  This has been exasperated by the limitations put on their police force during confrontations which has resulted in many cases where officers have opted to stay out of conflicts where violence is threatened.

Given the current anti law enforcement environment, especially in California, law enforcement officers find themselves between a rock and hard place.  When do they as Kenny Rogers quipped, “You got to know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em, Know when to walk away and know when to run.”

This is especially true with Assembly Bill 931 recently proposed by Shirley Weber (D-San Diego) and Kevin Mc Carty (D-Sacramento) that severely places limitations on use of force by police. Inspired by the recent shooting of unarmed suspect Stephon Clark in Sacramento this bill has received strong support from progressive anti-police organizations including the ACLUBlack Lives Matter, and Critical Resistance.

As might be expected those in law enforcement are very much opposed to  AB-931. According to California Police Chiefs Association President David Swing, his group was not consulted before the legislation was rolled out.  Swing expressed concern that communities could be put at risk if police have to second guess their actions when confronting threats.  He and other law enforcement officials are worried how this legislation would translate on the street.

Currently, California has one of the best prepared group of officers in the entire country. They must all go through Peace Officers Standards of Training course which deals extensively with trying to reduce the level of violence in every incident from a traffic stop to domestic disputes and incidents when a violent crime is likely involved.   Because of this high level of training when police officers move to other States, they are qualified to go right to work because of the high professional standards set in California.

With every incident law enforcement officers are involved with, the first rule is to guarantee safety for the officers and those they deal with.  There is a ladder and wheel of force which comes into play that tries to keep every incident at the lowest level of potential violence.  This is displayed when a routine traffic stop is made, officers are always concerned that they can see where the hands are of those they deal with

This brings us to the central issue when things go wrong and violence ensues in dealing with the police and citizens whom they monitor.  It is called following direct commands.  In almost every case when a shooting or use of tasers is involved, a policeman gives an order to a suspect to stop, not move, and to await the next directive.  When this does not happen and a pocket is reached in, regardless of the reason, this is where the odds go up for an unfortunate result.

One thing that has to be always is realized is that when physical resistance is involved with the police, the risk of increased violence occurs the next time these forces clash. Trying to blame the police completely for such an unfortunate outcome does not seem fair,

A trained police officer does not know if the individual they are dealing with is reaching for a gun, cell phone, or trying to get rid of contraband. In these cases a split minute decisions must be made.  This is especially true when the subject has not been previously frisked for weapons

Under such circumstances, how in the world can a couple of legislators possibly come up with new laws that make anyone safer?  We do not know for sure but it appears AB-931 was hastily put together with almost a mob mentality to placate anti-law enforcement groups in wake of the shooting in Sacramento.

Is this how we want our legislators to work on behalf of its citizens?  Should police officers, who are putting their lives on the line each day, have  additional pressure placed on them to make the correct decision or risk going to jail if they are determined to be judged to be wrong by a third party?

Also to be considered is the residual damage that might come up if law enforcement has unreasonable limitations placed upon them.  Will police be as effective in deescalating a given situation when they are not given the proper authority to react?

These are all important considerations to be reviewed by the Legislature.  They should also realize voters did not send them to Sacramento to write a bill every time a poor outcome on the streets occurs.  It is not always the system that breaks down.  Human error and phenomena called “force majeure”, (an act of God or nature) happens in both Blue and Red States.

The bottom line is that our government will never be equipped to deal with every predicament that comes up. God just never made us this way.


Richard Eber studied journalism at the University of Oregon. He writes about politics, culture, education restaurants, and was former city and sports editor of UCSB Daily. Richard is president of Amerasa Rapid Transit, a specialized freight forwarder.


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One Response to Eber: Government over reach comes with SB-831

  1. Frank April 18, 2018 at 9:28 am

    Your title references the wrong bill

    Reply

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