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Liberal Majority Passes Sheriff's Civilian Review Board

by johnk Tuesday, Dec. 09, 2014 at 8:40 PM

(These are my impressions and opinions.)

The LA County Board of Supervisors passed a motion to create a civilian review board for the sheriff's department.

This is the product of a three year effort by the Coalition to End Sheriff Violence, but it's just the beginning of the creation of the board. It's not determined how much actual power the board would have.

Cities in LA county generally don't have civilian review boards, with Long Beach being an exception. Cities have police commissions, but their role is not as a representative voice of the people and our complaints - rather they are like a board of directors, and the seats are held by elected officials.

Besides this tendency toward not having civilian review of police, many cities contract out police services to the sheriffs. A civilian review board for the sheriffs department would impact not only the unincorporated areas of the county, but also all the cities that contract out police services.

In the wake of the 2011 investigations of sheriff violations of law, the county formed a commission that recommended the creation of an Office of the Inspector General. The City of LA has an OIG, which functions as an independent organization from the police commission. However, according to the LA City's OIG website, the leadership is composed entirely of career law enforcement. (It's unclear to me if the county OIG functions the same way.)

The 3-2 majority was attained with the election of Sheila Kuehl, who took Yaroslovsky's seat. The other two supporters were Ridley-Thomas ans Solis, The opponents were Antonovich and Knabe. Perhaps this signals a change in the direction of the county board of supes, which has traditionally been a pretty conservative body.





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