As the new year approaches, several new laws are being codified. One such new law that will affect law enforcement is California Assembly Bill 485, which relates to Hate Crime Reporting. AB 485 will require local law enforcement agencies to post Hate Crime reporting information on their respective internet site every month. Currently, Law Enforcement agencies are only required to report Hate Crimes to the Department of Justice and specified internet websites on or before July 1st of each year. AB 485 will assist in bridging the “Transparency Gap” between Law Enforcement and the public.
Although this may be seen as yet another new reporting requirement, this will likely assist with community relations among the department and its citizens. When a Hate Crime occurs within the community, the whole community is affected. It leaves the community feeling traumatized, terrified, frustrated, and sometimes powerless. Hate crimes are usually highly visible to the intended victim to see and could often be brutal or injurious. The quick response by Law Enforcement to Hate Crimes helps calm the community and make them feel safe. AB485 will allow the community to see very quickly that on the department’s website the department’s response to hate crimes.
THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS:
SECTION 1. Section 13023 of the Penal Code is amended to read:
(a) Subject to the availability of adequate funding, the Attorney General shall direct local law enforcement agencies to report to the Department of Justice, in a manner to be prescribed by the Attorney General, any information that may be required relative to hate crimes. This information may include any general orders or formal policies on hate crimes and the hate crime pamphlet required pursuant to Section 422.92.
(b) On or before July 1 of each year, the Department of Justice shall update the OpenJustice Web portal with the information obtained from local law enforcement agencies pursuant to this section. The department shall submit its analysis of this information to the Legislature in the manner described in subdivision (g) of Section 13010.
(c) Local law enforcement agencies shall additionally post the information required in subdivision (a) to their internet websites on a monthly basis.
(d) For purposes of this section, “hate crime” has the same meaning as in Section 422.55.
SEC. 2. If the Commission on State Mandates determines that this act contains costs mandated by the state, reimbursement to local agencies and school districts for those costs shall be made pursuant to Part 7 (commencing with Section 17500) of Division 4 of Title 2 of the Government Code.
In anticipation of AB485 make sure that your department is aware of the new requirement and has a policy or plan in place regarding reporting. Additionally, ensure that officers are aware of what is considered a hate crime and any new internal reporting requirements for such crimes.