California Police Chief- Fall 2013 CPCA_2019_Spring Magazine- FINAL - Page 10

LEGISLATIVE UPDATE MORE THAN JUST PUBLIC SAFETY By Corey Sianez, Buena Park Chief of Police Use-of-Force, cannabis enforcement, and SB 1421. We’re all very familiar with these topics and what Cal Chiefs’ position is on each of them, but is public safety the only thing we concern ourselves with? If you answered yes, you’re correct. If you answered no, you’re also correct. Our number one priority is public safety; however, we can achieve this through other means outside the scope of criminal justice. For the past couple of years, we’ve supported numerous efforts to address California’s housing and homeless crisis, early start education programs, mental health reform, and others. These issue areas may seem to be out of our preview as law enforcement, but we believe there is a nexus between homelessness and education, and public safety. It’s no doubt that law enforcement has taken on more responsibilities over years that would not otherwise fall under our jurisdiction. We’re not only asked to be peace officers, but also social workers, mental health experts, and educators to name a few. The law enforcement profession has evolved, and so has our perspective. We’re no longer just dealing with gangs, distribution of hard drugs, or human traffickers. Instead, we find ourselves addressing homelessness and troubled kids in high school and college. These issue areas involve law enforcement in one way, or the other. Regardless of what the situation might be, we’re always the first to respond. Being proactive, rather than reactive, can make the difference between someone having a positive or negative interaction with law enforcement. Some of these proactive measures we’re supporting this year include measures like AB 344 (Calderon) which would establish the New 10 California Police Chief | Beginnings California program. This program would provide grant funding to cities to implement employment programs for homeless. We’re proud to support SB 40 (Weiner) and AB 1572 (Eggman) which would establish temporary conservatorships and redefine the definition for “gravely disabled” so that more individuals can receive the treatment they need. Cal Chiefs’ is also supportive of bills that focus on preventing individuals from returning to the criminal justice system after they’ve served their time. This year we’re supporting SB 716 (Mitchell) which would require county probation departments and the Division of Juvenile Facilities to collaborate with California’s Community Colleges, State Universities and UCs to provide access to postsecondary academic and career technical education programs. These measures give us an opportunity to be involved and engaged with our communities in a more positive and productive way. Public safety will always be our number one priority. We’ll continue to push back against proposals that put our officers and communities at risk; however, we’ll also be supportive of efforts to encourage our citizens to refrain from a life of hardship. As our profession continues to evolve, we need to begin to look at things from a holistic view. Our mission is to serve and protect, but maybe we can accomplish this in other ways outside of the norm. ■