Portantino and Jones-Sawyer Peace Officer Training Reform Bill Signed by Governor Newsom

Wednesday, October 27 2021

For Immediate Release: October 27, 2021

Contact: Lerna Shirinian, (818) 409-0400

Portantino and Jones-Sawyer Peace Officer Training Reform Bill Signed by Governor Newsom

Sacramento, California – Assembly Bill 89, a measure co-authored by Senator Anthony J. Portantino (D – La Cañada Flintridge) which reforms and enhances peace officer training and education, was signed into law by Governor Newsom last month.

“California must take the lead and ensure that we have the best and most highly trained officers,” stated Senator Portantino.  “Studies and research from public safety experts throughout the country consistently show that increased education and training can help officers approach each interaction in a way that is proven to increase positive public safety outcomes.  I am proud to partner with Assemblymember Jones-Sawyer on this important bill and thankful to the Governor for prioritizing public safety reform.”

Despite overwhelming research that education and diversity within our police departments are effective strategies for safer community policing, California does not require an AA or Bachelors Degrees to become POST certified and too many police departments don’t reflect California’s diversity.  To correct this situation and to create a better trained police force, Senator Portantino introduced SB 387 to establish minimum education requirements to become a sworn police officer.   AB 89, by Assemblymember Reggie Jones-Sawyer was similarly introduced in the Assembly.   Midway through the year, the two authors chose to work collaboratively on AB 89 with both the Assemblymember and the Senator as author and principal co-author.  

“While the duties of law enforcement officers have developed over time, their entry qualifications have failed to evolve to meet the current demands of the job,” said Assemblymember Jones-Sawyer.  “Aligning with data showing more mature and better educated officers are less reliant on excessive force, have fewer disciplinary actions, and perform better overall, the PEACE Act will strengthen community trust in law enforcement and ensure public safety, especially for communities most impacted by excessive force.  I would like to thank Senator Portantino for his partnership on this timely measure and am grateful to the Governor for signing this significant reform into law.” 

The combined effort takes provisions from both SB 387 and AB 89.  It increases the minimum qualifying age from 18 to 21 years to become a peace officer.  This aligns with the minimum firearm purchase age required in California.  In addition, it requires the Community College system to develop a modern policing degree program with the Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST).   AB 89 includes efforts to diversify police ranks and includes financial assistance strategies for students of historically underserved and disadvantaged communities that have traditionally had barriers to higher education. 

AB 89 continues the Senator’s leadership on public safety reforms.  He has a long history of advocating for smart and sensible solutions to our nation’s tragic history of gun violence.  During his time in the Assembly, the Senator successfully banned the open carry of handguns and rifles in California and as Senator, he raised the general gun purchase age in California to 21.

In 2019, Governor Newsom also signed Senator Portantino’s SB 172.  The bill enacted a slate of significant provisions related to firearms storage by broadening criminal storage crimes, adding criminal storage offenses to those offenses that can trigger a 10-year firearm ban, and creating an exemption to firearm loan requirements for the purposes of preventing suicide.  The same year, SB 376 was signed into law, which reduces the number of firearms an unlicensed individual is annually able to sell and the frequency with which they are able to sell.