The Santa Rosa City Council unanimously approved release of police records pre-dating January 1, 2019, under Senate Bill 1421, during a closed session meeting today, April 30, 2019. The Santa Rosa Police Department anticipates releasing the first set of responsive records within the next seven days and will provide a formal announcement when that occurs.
Senate Bill 1421 is a new California law that makes records of law enforcement officers’ use of force, dishonesty and sexual assault disclosable to the public.
In the fall of 2018, in anticipation of SB 1421’s passage, the Santa Rosa Police Department immediately began working to identify responsive records and determine the staff and resources required to comply with the new state law. While the California Courts debated the scope of SB 1421, the Department has continued to identify, preserve, and begin the review of responsive records. All responsive records in the custody of the Santa Rosa Police Department have been preserved regardless of date.
“The Council concluded that public interest in transparency is paramount, and decided unanimously to follow the recent First District Court of Appeal authority holding that records pre-dating January 1, 2019, are subject to SB 1421, and therefore disclosable,” said Mayor Tom Schwedhelm.
The Santa Rosa Police Department has received approximately eight public records act requests in accordance with SB 1421 since January. The Santa Rosa Police Department has responded with preliminary information to these requests and intends to make the rest of the information available as soon as the responsive records have been compiled, redacted, and reviewed per the law.