On October 7, 2021, CACEO, the California Association of Code Enforcement Officers, which is also the certifying body for code enforcement officers, successfully garnered Governor Gavin Newsom’s signature to get Senate Bill 296 signed into law, greatly benefiting the safety of code enforcement officers across the State. Silver & Wright LLP Partner and Certified Code Enforcement Officer Matthew Silver serves as the 2nd Vice President and Legislative Director for CACEO, and authored SB 296.
The CACEO-sponsored bill is the first of its kind signed into law across the entire nation. It received unanimous approval from the State Assembly on its way to becoming law.
This new law comes when only an estimated five percent of code enforcement officers in California are provided with lifesaving protective equipment from their agencies. Unfortunately, this statistic alone may be why we have continued to see increased violence against code enforcement officers.
In addition to physical dangers, by definition, code enforcement officers routinely are thrust into hazardous conditions as they inspect and abate problems such as substandard housing, mold issues, rodent and bug infestations, illegal cannabis grows, and a variety of other conditions that negatively affect health and safety.
Code enforcement officers are increasingly called upon to resolve quality of life, health and safety and behaviors formerly the subject of traditional policing, and as such, require minimum safety and training standards and protocols to perform their jobs safely.
I’m honored to have been part of the legislative group to write this bill, which is the first of its kind in the country and a huge leap forward for the code enforcement profession, and thus, the communities they protect. I hope this new law is a model for other states and ignites them to adopt similar mandates. Code enforcement officers are the ‘Swiss Army tool’ and hidden heroes of every jurisdiction, and they need to be protected while protecting others.