State Assemblyman Jordan Cunningham is calling for more transparency in police records and accountability of officers who are accused of serious wrongdoing.
Cunningham introduced a bill in the State Assembly Wednesday that would require law enforcement agencies to investigate police officers who are accused of misconduct or played a role in an officer-involved shooting, even after an officer resigns.
AB 718 would also require investigating agencies to share their findings with any other police agency that the officer seeks future employment with.
“Bad actors must be held accountable if we are to restore the public’s trust in our institutions," Cunningham said in a news release. "Completing investigations into claims of officer misconduct is an important component to rooting out those who wish to abuse their positions of power.”
Cunningham says investigations into officer misconduct are often dropped when the officer in question resigns. If passed, his bill would require those investigations to be finished and the findings to be published despite an officer's resignation.
Cunningham's office says he was motivated to introduce this legislation after local news media, including KSBY, were unable to obtain information about an alleged sexual assault case involving a Paso Robles police officer.
Former officer Chris McGuire was resigned from the Paso Robles Police Department in Oct. 2018 following allegations of sexual assault and before the investigation into the accusations was finished. As a result, Cunningham says local journalists could not make public records requests to obtain McGuire's investigation records because the investigation was never completed.
In Nov. 2018, District Attorney Dan Dow said that an investigation by his office concluded: “no reasonable and objective jury could find Mr. McGuire guilty of the alleged crimes.”
Assemblyman Cunningham introduced a similar bill in 2019. AB 1599 passed in the Assembly in Jan. 2020 but ultimately died in the Senate in Nov. 2020.