Police chiefs denounce bill that would limit use of force

California law enforcement is pushing back on a proposed bill in Sacramento that would create new protocol for police use of deadly force. The legislation seeks to change the standard from using "reasonable force" to "necessary force."

A coalition of police chiefs says the new legislation endangers the public. 

Officers use a high-tech simulator in Fairfield to train for split-second situations, including if and when to shoot. 

As it stands now, police officers are allowed to use deadly force when they are facing "a reasonable threat." 

If the law passes, officers can only shoot if there is no other option. 

Police chiefs from throughout Northern California met at the Fairfield Police training facility to denounce this proposed bill. They say it would force officers to go through a checklist which endangers officers and the public. 

"This legislation as proposed puts communities at risk. Evaluating the use of deadly force from the perspective of hindsight and narrowly justifiable homicide defense would lead to officers pulling back on proactive policing," said Morgan Hill Police Chief David Swing. 

Morgan Hill Police Chief David Swing is also president of the California Police Chiefs Association. 

San Rafael Police Chief Diana Bishop says officers shouldn't have to weigh their options before taking decisive action. 

"Does the officer not take action to stop any threat the man with the knife poses to those in the park because the use of deadly force is not necessary under the circumstances?" Bishop said. 

The bill was proposed last week by a Democratic State Assemblymembers Kevin McCarty and Shirley Weber. They say police need to look at alternative means of gaining compliance. 

In a statement to KTVU, Weber said, "An analysis of 91 of the largest police departments found that departments that used restricted use of force and de-escalation and other less-lethal tactics, save not only civilian lives, but also saves the lives of police officers." 

Police say they welcome public scrutiny of their actions. 

"Holding us to an unreasonable standard that measures in hindsight, a decision that is made during an emergency or critical incident will only hurt the communities we serve," said Watsonville Police Chief David Honda. 

The chiefs say they don't want officers to be second-guessed. They say they are willing to sit down with legislators to discuss their concerns.