San Diego SPJ applauds ruling on police transparency law

The San Diego Pro Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists is pleased with Judge Eddie Sturgeon’s ruling today that Senate Bill 1421, a new law that opens up certain police records to public inspection, applies to records of incidents occurring before Jan. 1, 2019, when the law took effect.

In January, unions representing eight San Diego County law enforcement agencies sued to block their respective departments from releasing pre-2019 records. The unions also asked Sturgeon to bar the release of disciplinary records for sexual misconduct and dishonesty, regardless of when the incident occurred. Six local media outlets and the ACLU intervened in the case, arguing that SB 1421 applies to earlier records and that the release of those records is in the public interest. The unions have until the end of the month to appeal the ruling. We urge them not to, and hope they’ll realize that the law’s intent was to bolster public trust in law enforcement, not undermine it.

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