AB 742 will restrict the practice of using police canines for apprehension, arrest, and crowd control. 

Police dog, German Shepherd. Original public domain image from Flickr
Police dog, German Shepherd. Original public domain image from Flickr

In February 2023, Assembly Bill 742 was proposed in California. The bill aimed to ban the use of police dogs for arrest and crowd control if they were deemed racist. However, in July, the bill was turned into a two-year bill and will remain inactive until 2024 for reasons that currently need to be discovered.

In Feb, Assemblymember Corey Jackson, Executive Director of ASIU California Carlos Marquez, and Rev. Jethroe Moore II, President of the San Jose/Silicon Valley NAACP chapter, held a press conference in front of the state capital supporting Assembly Bill 742. The bill remained inactive until then.

At the press conference, Rev Moore stated, “This seeks to end a deeply racialized traumatic and harmful practice by prohibiting the use of police canines for arrest, apprehension, and crowd control. It’s time for AB 742 to stop passing this issue on to the next generation, and it’s time for California to atone for its violent past.” The press conference was held five months before the bill was announced, and it will remain inactive.

In 2021, the California Department of Justice released statistics that revealed nearly 14% of the serious injuries or deaths resulting from police use of force incidents across the state were caused by police canines. This highlights the significant role police dogs play in law enforcement and raises questions about their appropriate use and training. The statistics also suggest the need for a re-evaluation of the use of police canines in certain situations to minimize harm to civilians.

Assembly Member Jackson said this at the conference: “The use of police canines inflicted brutal violence and lifelong trauma on Black Americans and communities of color. 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 served.”

In an article titled “California Bill Would Prohibit Police Dogs from Being Used for Arrest and Crowd Control Due to Racial Controversy,” published in the L.A. Times, it is mentioned that the proposed bill would prohibit the use of canines for arrest and crowd control, but not for other purposes such as explosives detection, search, and rescue, or narcotics detection, which do not involve biting.

Image courtesy of rawpixel.com / U.S. Army (Source)

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