AB 392 and California Police Training

Overview of AB 392 and California police training changes.

AB 392 - New Use of Force Standard in California

On August 19, 2019, California Governor Newsom signed AB 392 which both redefines the circumstances under which a homicide by a peace officer is deemed justifiable and affirmatively prescribes the circumstances under which a peace officer is authorized to use deadly force to effect an arrest, to prevent escape, or to overcome resistance.

Changes in California Peace Officers Training

AB 392, effective January 1, 2020, amends the language of the following statutes and includes:

Penal Code 196 PC

  • The circumstances of justifiable homicide change from when "overcoming actual resistance to the execution of some legal process or in the discharge of any other legal duty" to "the homicide results from a peace officer's use of force that is in compliance with PC 835a."

Penal Code 835a PC

PC 835a(a) added to reflect legislative intent including:

  • Use of force authority conferred on peace officers is a serious responsibility.
  • Deadly force should be used only when necessary.
  • Use of force decisions are to be evaluated carefully and from a "reasonable officer" perspective.
  • Individuals with disabilities may be affected in their ability to understand or comply with peace officer commands.

PC 835a(b) amends reasonable force standard to "objectively reasonable force"

PC 835a(c)(1) amends deadly force standards to include "totality of the circumstances" when:

  • defending against imminent threat of death or serious bodily injury
  • apprehending fleeing persons for felony
  • involving threatened or actual death or serious bodily injury
  • immediate apprehension is reasonably believed to be needed
  • requires, when reasonable, that officers identify themselves and warn of intent to use force

PC 835a(c)(2) includes prohibition on using deadly force against persons who pose a danger only to themselves.

PC 835a(d) amends self-defense language to include objectively reasonable force.

PC 835a(e) added definitions for deadly force, imminent, and totality of the circumstances.

Source: California Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training

Need additional training?

Apex Officer's Force Option Simulator provides police officers and sheriff's deputies with practice handling volatile situations, and the use of proper force options which are available. The training goal is to reduce deaths, injuries, liability costs and improve safety overall for California Law Enforcement personnel and to the public.

The Need for Force Options Simulators

Peace officers must recognize that they have the authority to use reasonable force to effect an arrest, to prevent escape, or to overcome resistance as authorized by the California Penal Code. For their safety, and for the safety and well-being of fellow officers, it is critical that peace officers know the laws governing the use of force.

What is a force options simulator?

The Force Options Simulator (FOS) is an interactive training platform which allows for the use of replica firearms and less lethal training devices to engage in force response simulations.

The FOS has been empirically proven to be effective in:

  • Developing firearms accuracy
  • Developing decision making skills
  • Fostering community relations
  • Police performance research (bias, priming, and perceptual distortions)

Case Law and Refresher Lecture

Apex Officer's Force Options Training Simulator, whether delivered in sessions or in a single day, begins with a refresher on use of force terminology, codified law and case law. A standard line of attack being implemented by the plaintiff’s attorneys is to question the officer’s knowledge of case law as well penal codes. For instance, an officer may be well versed in applying solutions to problems, yet have difficulty regurgitating penal codes on the stand. One major purpose of the judgment simulator programs is to increase the confidence of our personnel. Increased confidence reduces hesitancy, and improves proper decision making. Periodic refreshers serve them well in this regard.

About the Author

Alex Oliver
Customer Success

Alex Oliver is the Customer Success Manager at Apex Officer