Capitol Alert

Ad watch: Police use-of-force ad misleads on officer training

The law enforcement organization Protect California is running television ads and digital campaigns to rally support for a police use-of-force measure sponsored by the California Police Chiefs Association.

The bill, Senate Bill 230 by state Sen. Anna Caballero, D-Salinas, would require cities across the state to maintain use-of-force policies and emphasizes training in their departments. It’s an alternative to a more sweeping use-of-force measure that law enforcement opposes, Assembly Bill 392 by Assemblywoman Shirley Weber, D-San Diego.

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Below is the text of the ad and our analysis:


“The police do a job most of us would never want. And mental health emergencies can turn deadly. There’s a way to reduce shootings without making police the enemy. Senate Bill 230 gives police the training they’ve asked for to help save lives, how to handle mental health emergencies and de-escalation practices when police have only seconds in life-or-death situations. Senate Bill 230 will give police the training they’ve been asking for.”


The bill demands greater force training in every California department. But the ad fails to mention the legislation leaves it up to local jurisdictions to determine what those procedures look like, a point of contention for opponents who say that without a uniform standard, the proposal is a “bill with no teeth.”

It also leaves a misleading impression that California police officers have been deprived of training. Many California police departments, including Stockton, Los Angeles and San Francisco, have already worked to overhaul their policies and provide training. Those policies were upgraded following controversial shootings and a wave of community backlash over tough-on-crime policing.

The California Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training offers a list of training opportunities for departments across the state. Those include legislative-mandated training sessions on handling individuals with mental illness and dealing with other vulnerable populations.

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