Assembly guts bill protecting S.F. DPT officers

A bill that would stiffen penalties of those who assault civilian parking and traffic officers moved closer to becoming state law recently, but was amended to remove extra jail time for offenders.

Assembly Bill 1686, sponsored by California Assemblyman Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, and co-authored by District Attorney Kamala Harris, passed the Public Safety Committee of the state Senate by a vote of 5-0 on Tuesday.

The bill stemmed from a rash of attacks on San Francisco parking control officers in late 2006.

The civilian officers receive the same protection as any other civilian. An assault on them counts as a misdemeanor, punishable by up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine.

AB 1686 originally would have upped the maximum jail sentence to a year. But a recent law designed to relieve prison overcrowding prohibits state lawmakers from passing any new legislation that increases jail or prison time.

AB 1686 was amended to keep the maximum sentence at six months, but to increase the fine to $2,000.

“My preference would have been to equalize it exactly to the penalty of an assault on a traffic officer,” Leno said. “That’s what this was all about: equality.

“But that was not an option we had. Two thousand dollars is real money, so I think that is teeth. That would bite someone.”

amartin@examiner.com

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