AB 887: Guidance on Peace Officer Investigations

AB 887 was introduced by Assembly Member Cooper (D-Sacramento) on February 16, 2017. AB 887 amends the Public Safety Officers Procedural Bill of Rights Act (PSOPBR) as follows:

Government Code section 3303.

(c) The public safety officer under investigation shall be informed of the nature of the investigation prior to any interrogation. For this purpose, the officer shall be informed of the following:

(1) The time and date of any incident at issue.

(2) The location of any incident at issue

(3) The internal affairs case number, if any.

(4) The title of any alleged violation.

(5) A brief summary of any complaint.

[Language added by bill is in bold]

Comments:

  1. The PSOPBR requires that an officer under investigation be informed of the “nature of the investigation prior to any interrogation.” Police agencies have long struggled over exactly what this means. Last year in Ellins v. City of Sierra Madre (2016) 244 Cal.App.4th 445, a court of appeal provided some guidance on when notice must be given: “reasonably prior.” Not exactly a bright-line rule but at least we got some guidance.
  2. However, Ellins did not discuss exactly what information must be given. So to the extent AB 887 provides guidance as to what is required, it is welcome.
  3. My only suggestion is that the qualifier “to the extent reasonably known” be inserted somewhere. Often times, for example, an agency may not know all the facts before an interview. Also, often times the full extent of any policy violations may not be known before the interview. Maybe everyone already knows that you only have to provide information currently known, but it wouldn’t hurt to make that clear.
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