When I returned to my home state of California as a reporter for the Los Angeles Times in the year 2000, I was in for a surprise when I reported on a police shooting in Compton. The cops didn’t have to tell me the name of the person who did the shooting.

As a young reporter in Baltimore, I would have had that information instantaneously. But I was in California, where the law had been interpreted to shield the identities of officers who used force. It also shielded their disciplinary records.

This was obviously a bad idea. A huge percentage of shootings are done by a very small number of officers, many of whom shouldn’t be police. But California shielded officers and also didn’t bring prosecutions, hewing to a standard that allowed all kinds of misbehavior and questionable judgment to go unprosecuted.

The situation has improved in this decade. Back in 2014, the California Supreme Court issued a decision that essentially removed the legal shield that automatically kept officers’ names away from the press and public. Unfortunately, there are still too many restrictions on public information in such cases, in part because of the state’s peace officers bill of rights.

But now the state is debating AB 931, which would change the standard for police use of force.

It’s a complicated topic, and I’ve heard strong arguments on both sides. But I lean strongly to adopting some version of the measure that will bring greater accountability to police use of force, and thus discourage it. Law in this area will need to be tweaked and changed over many years, as we see how it plays out in practice. But it’s clear that the state hasn’t made nearly enough effort to reduce police shootings. The goal of the law is safety—to reduce police shootings and also to make cops safer.

California needs its police to protect us more than ever right now—especially with federal law enforcement being given the green light by The Trump Administration to violate the human rights of immigrants and others. Let’s test the ideas of reform-minded police and experts with this law, and finally bring overdue accountability to police use of force in California.