California has nearly 80,000 sworn law enforcement officers spread throughout the state. Plenty of them are upstanding citizens. But mixed within the boys in blue are several criminals hiding behind the badge.
A bombshell investigation by several California news organizations found that officers are serving the public that should actually be serving time. More than 80 current officers are in California police departments and have serious convictions, including DUIs, animal cruelty and even manslaughter.
Some officers have felony charges, which, upon conviction, would have disqualified them from police service. But, conveniently, they were allowed to plea down to misdemeanors and stay on the force. Many other convicted officers were allowed to work for more than a year before being fired or quitting.
Other states have agencies with the power to decertify problem cops. Such oversight does not exist in California; instead, individual departments have the right to decide if a convicted officer can remain. That means we're relying on cops' friends and colleagues to hold them accountable, something we've seen fail in departments around the country.
This is inexcusable. Being a police officer is an honor. That honor should be accompanied by a responsibility to hold yourself to a higher standard. If a police officer has shown that they have disregard for the law, how can they then be expected to enforce it?
The call to get convict cops off the service becomes even more urgent when you consider the horrific cases of police brutality and racial injustices that have occurred in recent years. Police have gotten away with stunning recklessness, from racial profiling to outright physical abuse and the killings of unarmed men and women. Is it any wonder they behave like this if their respective police departments have already let them get away with breaking the law?
We cannot tolerate convicted criminals walking the streets as police officers. Cops who break the law should lose their jobs. It's time California pass a law barring convicted police officers from serving and create an agency with the power to decertify them.
Sign the petition to tell California to protect its residents and get these criminal cops off our streets.