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By Tracy DeFore, County of San Diego Communications Office

March 4, 2021 (San Diego) -The County Board of Supervisors received the 2020 Annual Report from the Citizens’ Law Enforcement Review Board after a presentation from its executive officer Tuesday.

CLERB was established in 1990 to investigate citizen complaints against San Diego County Sheriff’s deputies and probation officers. CLERB also has the authority to review all deaths that occur in custody or in connection with the two departments without a complaint.

The review board makes advisory findings on complaints, and recommends policy and procedure changes to the Sheriff, Chief Probation Officer and the Board of Supervisors.

The annual report shows CLERB received 116 complaints in 2020, for a total of 330 allegations. CLERB closed 139 cases in 2020, some dating back to 2017.

The review board closed 23 fully investigated death cases in 2020, one more than 2019.  CLERB opened 15 death cases in 2020 versus 18 in 2019.

CLERB made 12 policy recommendations, 11 to the Sheriff’s Department and one to the Probation Department. Five recommendations to the Sheriff’s Department were implemented, while the remaining six are still under consideration. The policy recommendation to the Probation Department is also still being considered.

This past year, the Board of Supervisors increased CLERB’s independence by moving it from the County’s Public Safety Group to the Finance and General Government Group, strengthened its oversight, and authorized added funding and staffing.

CLERB now has the authority to investigate, without public complaints, any incidents that involve County custodial, Sheriff’s or Probation officers and the discharge of a firearm, use of force resulting in great bodily injury, or use of force in protests or other events protected by the First Amendment.

The CLERB board itself includes 11 members, two from each of the five supervisorial districts and one at-large member. Applications for a pending vacancy in District 1 are being accepted now.

The board is supported by an office staff. Employees include an executive officer, an administrative assistant and three investigators. The number of investigators is expected to double to six next month.

The next CLERB meeting takes place virtually on March 9. The public can watch or listen to it virtually and make comments after filling out a request to speak form.

CLERB meetings are scheduled on the second Tuesday of each month.

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