California Now Allowing Non-U.S. Citizens To Become Police Officers

Prior to Jan. 1, 2023, anyone who wanted to become a peace officer had to be a United States citizen or permanent resident.

But, as with other crazy laws that went into effect on January 1, 2023, a new law in the state of California changed the qualification requirements to become a police officer.

Moving forward, anyone who is legally authorized to work in the state of California, under federal law, with the proper green card or visa, is eligible to become a police officer. 

State Senator Nancy Skinner (D) is the author of Senate Bill 960, which changed the requirement.

“When you look at California’s rules, almost every other profession, lawyers, doctors… even firefighters… are able to be part of that profession as long as they have full legal authorization, full federal legal work authorization. It was only our sworn officers we restricted that way,” said Skinner.

“Ironically in the military, you could be an officer in the military, and you could not be a peace officer in California. So that’s why we felt it was totally right to fix the rule.”

Not everyone in law enforcement approves of the change.

CBS 8 reported:

CBS 8 cleared up some misconceptions about the new law by going directly to the State Senator who wrote the bill, and we talked with the San Diego Police Officers Association about their concerns.

“The San Diego Police Department has lost over 500 officers since July of 2020. That’s drastic. We need everyone we can to be able to be a police officer.

However, we are not in favor of reducing the requirements and lowering the standards,” said Sgt. Jared Wilson, speaking as President and on behalf of the San Diego Police Officer’s Association.

Wilson said they do have concerns about the new California law that changed the qualifications to become a police officer in the state.


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