Capitol continues assault on peace officers

My name is Paul Hornick, and I am a prosecutor in Madera.

I have been a prosecutor for 13 years, and never have I seen a state legislature launch an assault on peace officers as shamelessly as what is happening in California now.

Berkley Democrat Nancy Skinner recently introduced Senate Bill 1421, which will likely be passed into law. SB1421 eliminates the confidentiality of peace officer personnel files, exposing peace officers to being more easily sued by unhappy criminals, and to have their internal records scoured by reporters from the media.

On its surface, the bill panders to people who want police transparency — which sounds like a good thing on the surface.

But, like virtually every other piece of law coming out of California these days, SB1421 promises a vague, positive-sounding benefit but ignores practical realities.

Police officers are obligated to interact with dangerous criminals every day. When they do arrest these criminals, the criminals aren’t happy. They often make frivolous complaints to the department, which are documented but almost always found baseless. Then, at trial, because evidence of guilt is often so overwhelming, defense attorneys put the officer on trial, flinging mud at them in every way they can to distract the jury. SB1421 will make it easier for criminals to sue police officers, easier for the media to generate outrageous stories based on misleading data, and easier for defense attorneys to distract juries from the facts.

Peace officers risk their lives for us, and they deserve our support, not our suspicion. Please, write your representatives and encourage them to vote NO on this terrible bill.

— Paul Hornick,