The headline in Tuesday's paper, "Bakersfield's families applaud as Newsom signs new police use of force bill into law," refers to AB 392, which outlines when police can protect themselves against potential criminals. The new key word is to use force only when "necessary," and a definition is needed for continued existence.
When a police officer exits their car and approaches a violators car, they walk the death zone to make contact. When the driver or passenger quickly exit their car, the police officer is in serious, potential trouble. He or she must determine if the person or persons are armed. What would you do if the driver and/or passenger quickly reached to their waistband as if to produce a hand gun? Is this person a homicide perpetrator, a holdup person? A shooting occurs in microseconds, sometimes in a dark environment.
Cops do not roll out on the streets anxious to shoot someone. They enforce laws and stop suspected criminals. AB 392 authors and supporters will probably have blood on their hands from a hardworking diligent police officer that did not know if it was "necessary" to fire. I recommend that all lawmakers go to a police department and participate in a training session called shoot or don't shoot, a laser gun video program with simulated scenarios that are very realistic and see how they survive or who they kill. I speak from 37 1/2 years of law enforcement experience.
Tom Edmonds, Bakersfield