Transparency via SB 1421: Update
Effective January 1, 2019, Senate Bill 1421, the Right to Know Act, went into effect.
This CA bill essentially made public previously confidential records about law enforcement officers involved in shootings or other serious uses of force, as well as those who committed sexual assaults or acts of dishonesty.
As this law went into effect, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department (LASD) had very little infrastructure in place to prepare for the onslaught of Public Records Act (PRA) requests that were to come. As the requests began to pour in, Sheriff Villanueva had been in office for one month and was left with no infrastructure to handle this massive undertaking. The Sheriff understands the value of transparency and accountability, to that end, the LASD requested funding for personnel, and tracking and redaction software, but was denied multiple times.
As a temporary fix to meet the law’s requirements, Sheriff Villanueva temporarily re-assigned personnel in an effort to meet the demand and instructed LASD’s Data Systems Bureau to create software to move forward at a faster pace.
We are thankful that In November of 2020, the CEO provided funding for the software which is currently in the procurement stage.
Since January 1, 2019, LASD has received 3,725 SB-1421 requests, and Sheriff Villanueva is proud to announce we have managed to fulfill 3,593 of those requests to date. Given the extraordinary amount of meticulous tracking and legally mandated redacting necessary for every document requested, it is a huge feat that LASD has nearly accomplished the enormous number of SB-1421 requests. Also noteworthy, LASD currently has 335 SB-1421 cases PUBLICLY posted on www.lasd.org under a new digital page titled “LASD Transparency.” As new records are released to the requestor, they will be continued to be posted online to that page. Finally, only those cases that are still being investigated and/or involve civil litigation, cannot be publicly released.
LASD, being the largest Sheriff’s Department in the nation, is the recipient of probably the highest number of PRA requests given the sheer size of our Department and the 10 million residents we serve.