Sen. Dodd Introduces Police Training Bill
SACRAMENTO – Sen. Bill Dodd, D-Napa, introduced legislation today that would help train law enforcement officers in their criminal investigations and public interactions, ensuring they uphold civil rights and treat people with dignity and respect.
“People deserve to be treated fairly and humanely by police officers and should not fear having their rights trampled,” said Sen. Dodd. “My bill will ensure officers are properly trained and the public isn’t subjected to demeaning or coercive tactics that can result in false confessions.”
Over the past 75 years, police have relied on a criminal interrogation strategy known as the Reid Technique, which relies heavily on assuming guilt, assessing behavioral clues of deception and administering psychological manipulation. However, studies have raised questions about the validity of the technique. A 2006 meta-analysis found the aptitude to correctly detect deception averaged only 54%.
In response to the highly publicized post-9/11 interrogation tactics the United States used on terrorist suspects, the Obama administration in 2009 began creating new standards for science-based interviewing and communication that have since been adopted by many police agencies.
Senate Bill 494 would require the California Commission on Police Officer Standards and Training to create and integrate officer training on interview techniques that are more ethical and effective at getting accurate information while avoiding false confessions. Further, it would require training to ensure everyday interactions with the public are civil.
SB 494 is supported by the El Dorado County District Attorney’s Office and the civil rights advocates.
“Research has shown our law enforcement officers can better serve their communities when they are trained in science-based ethical human engagement strategies,” said Vern Pierson, El Dorado County district attorney. “I am grateful to Sen. Dodd for sponsoring legislation that will improve the interaction between law enforcement and the people they serve and puts us on a path to a more thoughtful criminal justice system.”
Senator Bill Dodd represents the 3rd Senate District, which includes all or portions of Napa, Solano, Yolo, Sonoma, Contra Costa, and Sacramento counties. You can learn more about the district and Senator Dodd at www.sen.ca.gov/dodd.