March 16, 2021
Honorable Ash Kalra
California State Assembly
State Capitol, Room 2196
Sacramento, CA 95814
RE: SUPPORT– AB 655 (Kalra) California Law Enforcement Accountability Reform Act (CLEAR Act)
Dear Assemblymember Kalra:
The Sonoma County Democratic Party is writing to support Assembly Bill (AB) 655, the CLEAR Act, a bill to combat the infiltration of extremists in our law enforcement agencies.
After the insurrection we witnessed on January 6, 2021 at the U.S. Capitol building by right wing extremists with the apparent cooperation, participation, and support of some law enforcement and military personnel, the threat that extremist infiltration poses to equal justice and the rule of law is more evident than ever before. Continued failure to address extremism, racism, and bias among peace officers contributes to the erosion of public confidence in the legitimacy and fairness of our justice system.
The CLEAR Act would ensure all peace officers in the state of California applying for employment undergo a background check that includes screening whether the officer holds official membership in a hate group or participated in public expressions of hate or violence. Additionally, discovery of these expressions, membership, or participation with hate groups can become grounds for disciplinary review and termination.
We support AB 655 because it will increase public trust in law enforcement as it roots out those who would jeopardize public safety with extremist and violent behavior.
Pat Sabo, Chair