California Department of Justice Investigates Bakersfield Police Department

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BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — It’s no secret that Kern sees some of the nation’s highest rates of officer-involved shootings. The Bakersfield City Council met this afternoon to discuss possible legal action by the state Department of Justice against the Bakersfield Police Department. The sheriff’s department already reached a settlement with the California Department of Justice. The city seems to be considering the same allegations, but it’s all happening behind closed doors.

The state’s Department of Justice investigated the Police Department and the sheriff’s office from 2016 until last year, accusing law enforcement of violations ranging from excessive use of force to unreasonable stops and seizures. The state sued the sheriff’s office, settling the case in December when KCSO agreed to follow new rules.

That settlement required the county to hire more deputies, and provide more body-worn cameras. Deputies are now required to report every use of force to a third-party monitor and take more action around complaints from the public, among other reforms.

There’s no word on how the city is handling the state investigation. 17 News asked several City Councilmen today for details, all declined to answer. Also no word yet on whether the state will sue the Bakersfield Police Department.

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