January 16, 2022

New Resource: “Here are 458 California Law Enforcement Agencies’ Policy Documents All in One Place”

From the Electronic Frontier Foundation:

Today [April 26, 2021=, EFF in partnership with Stanford Libraries’ Systemic Racism Tracker project is releasing a data set with links to 458 policy manuals from California law enforcement agencies, including most police departments and sheriff offices and some district attorney offices, school district police departments, and university public safety departments. This data set represents our first attempt to aggregate these policy documents following the passage of S.B. 978, a state law that requires local law enforcement agencies to publish this information online.

These policy manuals cover everything from administrative duties and record keeping to the use of force and the deployment of surveillance technologies. These documents reveal police officers’ responsibilities and requirements, but they also expose shortcomings, including an overreliance on boilerplate policies generated by a private company.

Until a few years ago, many law enforcement agencies in California were reluctant to share their policy documents with the public. While a handful of agencies voluntarily chose to post these records online, the most reliable way to obtain these records was through the California Public Records Act (CPRA), which creates the legal right for everyday people to request information from the government. Most people don’t know they have this power, and even fewer know how to exercise it effectively.

Dylan Kubeny, a student at the Reynolds School of Journalism at the University of Nevada, Reno, served as the primary data hunter and co-author on this project. 

Learn More: Read Analysis and Access Links to All Documents

See Also: Link to Dataset as .CSV File

About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.