Santa Clara County Adopts ‘8 Can’t Wait’ Policies, Among Other Law Enforcement Reforms

Santa Clara County became the latest local agency to adopt a slate of policing reforms in response to the public uprising over the murder of George Floyd.

In a unanimous vote Tuesday, the Board of Supervisors approved a slate of changes aligned with a national campaign known as “8 Can’t Wait,” which prescribes the following reforms (that are now county policy):

  • Officers must intervene to stop a colleague from using excessive force
  • A ban on chokeholds, strangleholds, carotid restraints and other approaches that cut off a suspect’s air supply or blood flow
  • Officers must de-escalate situations to the greatest extent possible before using force and must undergo training in de-escalation and violence reduction strategies
  • Use-of-force policies must be updated to more clearly represent the maximum level of force allowable in response to specific types of conduct
  • Officers must give a clear verbal warning before using deadly force
  • Officers are prohibited from shooting at moving vehicles unless an individual in the vehicle poses a direct deadly threat by means other than the vehicle
  • Officers must exhaust all other reasonable alternatives before resorting to deadly force
  • Officers must provide comprehensive reporting of all uses and threats of force

In addition to the #8CantWait policies, the board referred the county to explore the following changes to law enforcement practices:

  • Prohibiting the hiring of enforcement and correctional officers with a history of excessive force or serious misconduct complaints (including lateral transfers)
  • Making public a list of all lethal and less-lethal armaments owned by county departments
  • Limiting the acquisition of “military-style” weaponry and equipment
  • Banning or limiting the use of tear gas and rubber bullets as a crowd control technique
  • Restructuring county emergency response to ensure that employees best trained and suited to handle a given situation are able to do so

Meanwhile, the county was directed to brings its policies in alignment with SB 230, which tightens up police standards for using force, and AB 392, which limits the allowable reasons law enforcement personnel can resort to killing someone.

In a letter praising the policies proposed by Supervisor Joe Simitian, Santa Clara County Public Defender Molly O’Neal called them, “an aggressive but sensible formula for reform.” The National Alliance on Mental Illness of Santa Clara County descrbed the same proposals as “timely, appropriate, and needed.”

Simitian said Floyd’s killing underscored the urgency of such accountability measures.

“The details of George Floyd’s killing are by now known to us all. Indeed, they seem all too familiar. Because they are,” he said. “What we have just witnessed is and should be deeply disturbing to every American. It is inherently inconsistent with our nation’s stated aspiration to provide equal justice under the law. And there can be no argument that the pain of such behavior weighs most heavily on communities of color.”


  1. > In addition to the #8CantWait policies, the board referred the county to explore the following changes to law enforcement practices:

    Did the board explore any changes to looting and vandalism practices used by “protesters”?

    Did they, for example, specify a maximum size plate glass window that vandals are allowed to break without being subject to a verbal warning from a police officer using a bullhorn of not more than 50 decibels?

  2. I feel like they a missing vetting potential officers for buas by race as well. Their has to some scrutiny against the systemic racism that is felt across the nation.

  3. Wow, Wow, and Wow! THE reactive officials of Santa Clara County have to wait until a social problem is a thing in order to act. Supervisors,… What about officers who engage in the abuse of animals, women, and children? What about officers who watch child porn and engage in other white collar crimes? All this have been reported to you for years. YOU ALL CHOSE TO DO NOTHING! What about officers who intentionally change the reporting of a victim’s in their police report to protect a fellow officer from domestic violence crime charges? Do victims of domestic violence have a right to a warning before they are killed by their domestic perpetrators and at the same time law enforcement boyfriends, husbands, or fathers? What about Jeff Rosen corruption that has aided and abetted the crimes of these officers for the last ten years? How long or how many women have to be victimized in this county so you for once act on the domestic violence Bx of law enforcement?

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