Licensed Peace Officer Bill Authored by Assemblymember Ash Kalra Passes Both Houses, Heads to Governor's Desk

Thursday, July 6, 2017

SACRAMENTO – AB 1440, a bill authored by Assemblymember Ash Kalra (D-San Jose) clarifying that federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents and Customs and Border Patrol Officers are not licensed peace officers under California State Law, passed out of the Assembly today on a bipartisan 56 to 4 vote.

Under the new federal administration Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) are undertaking unprecedented and aggressive tactics to identify, monitor, and detain undocumented immigrants for deportation. Oftentimes, federal agents have been known to pretend or misrepresent themselves as licensed peace officers in order to compel or coerce suspected undocumented immigrants into revealing or cooperating with them under false pretenses.

“Regardless of one’s opinion of federal immigration policy, ICE and Border Patrol agents are not licensed peace officers; they are not trained as peace officers, nor do they undergo the rigorous training required to become a California peace officer,” said Assemblymember Kalra. “During the week where we celebrate our nation’s independence, we must ensure that our constitutional protections extend to everyone in our great state.”

“These unethical tactics by ICE under the Trump Administration creates a significant threat to Californians by widening the mistrust between local law enforcement and immigrant communities. Having ICE falsely identify themselves as police officers undermines  the work local police departments have done to build stronger ties with the residences that they serve,” said Christopher Sanchez, Policy Advocate for the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights (CHIRLA). “We applaud the passage of Assembly Bill 1440 which sends a clear message to ICE and CBP that their tactics are unwarranted in California.”

Along with CHIRLA, AB 1440 is supported by various organizations including the American Civil Liberties Union, California Public Defenders Association, and Peace Officers Research Association of California.

The process to become an ICE agent or CBP Officer is entirely different from what is required to become a licensed peace officer in California. Whereas a prospective ICE agent undergoes five weeks of Spanish language training and completes basic law enforcement training, a prospective licensed peace officer must undergo a minimum of 664 hours of training.

As required by state law, and established by Police Officer Standards and Training (POST), licensed peace officers undergo a thorough and rigorous training offered by a state licensed policy academy. Their training is lengthy and involves training related to leadership, professionalism and ethics, crimes against children and sex crimes, and understanding victimology and crisis intervention.