A new California law that took effect Jan. 1 allows public access to police records in use-of-force cases.
California was considered one of the most secretive states when it comes to revealing information on police misconduct.
David Snyder with the First Amendment Coalition says the new law will allow the public to hold police departments accountable for officers involved in possible wrongdoing.
“Public exposure and scrutiny of those few bad apples will result in better policing,” Snyder says. “I think ultimately [it] will benefit law enforcement generally.”
The new law is not absolute and allows police departments to redact information and establish timelines under which they can withhold records under certain circumstances.
Snyder says there's a level of discretion that police departments will still have in releasing some records and so “it'll be curious to see how these departments respond.”
The law also allows public access to sustained investigations into on-the-job dishonesty or sexual assault.