by Photo courtesy of Assemblymember Dr. Corey A. Jackson

California lawmakers introduced legislation on Monday that would prohibit the use of police canines for arrest, apprehension, and crowd control. 

Assemblymember Dr. Corey A. Jackson, joined by co-author Assemblymember Ash Kalra, introduced Assembly Bill 742, which aims to end “a deeply racialized and harmful practice that has been a mainstay in America's history of racial bias and violence against Black Americans and people of color."

"The use of police canines has inflicted brutal violence and lifelong trauma on Black Americans and communities of color," said Assemblymember Dr. Corey A. Jackson. "This bill marks a turning point in the fight to end this cruel and inhumane practice and build trust between the police and the communities they serve

Under the bill, law enforcement would be prohibited from using police dogs in apprehensions, arrests, and crowd control, according to the bill's text. The dogs could still be used to sniff out bombs, drugs, and or other activities that don't involve biting. 

Both the ACLU California Action and the CA/HI NAACP Support the legislation. 

Carlos Marquez III, Executive Director of ACLU California Action, said "The use of police canines has severe and potentially deadly consequences for bite victims, especially communities of color.” 

Supporters of the Bill ted injuries inflicted on people for minor infractions, but some experts in police dog training and tactics say the legislation may have consequences. 

“No one is arguing that irresponsible, criminal and negligent use of a canine is unacceptable, which is why we have such strict standards and laws on how and when canines can be used,” Chief Chris Catren, President of the California Police Chiefs Association (CPCA) responded on Monday. “But removing a non-lethal and highly effective law enforcement ally, which is used primarily to de-escalate and diffuse volatile scenarios, gravely hinders our police officers’ safety and ability to reduce the amount of force used in those circumstances. The fact is that canines reduce more force than they ever use and banning them goes too far.”

AB 742 is expected to be heard in Assembly Committees soon.

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