“Trust between law enforcement agencies and the people they protect and serve is essential in a democracy” --President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing.
June 29, 2016 (San Diego’s East County) -- In response to complaints about law enforcement officers’ behavior, the 2015/2016 San Diego County Grand Jury recommends improvements to existing citizens’ review boards and calls upon cities without review boards to establish them.
The Grand Jury acknowledges the different models of citizens’ review boards operating in the county; rather than assessing which model is preferable, the report “Citizen Oversight Boards of Police Behavior” focuses on specific steps boards can take to become more effective.
In the County of San Diego, police behavior oversight is the responsibility of the Citizens’ Law Enforcement Review Board. To increase diversity and the pool of nominees, the Grand Jury recommends modest compensation for Board members’ time and expenses; to provide better geographical representation, the jury recommends the appointment process include two nominations from each of the five Supervisor districts.
Seven cities in San Diego County have independent police departments but no citizens’ review boards. The Grand Jury recommends those cities establish such boards, with community input to ensure acceptance and accountability.
In the city of San Diego, the Citizens’ Review Board relies on the City Attorney for legal counsel. The City Attorney also represents the San Diego Police Department, creating a potential conflict of interest. The Grand Jury recommends the Citizens’ Review Board have independent legal counsel. It also recommends providing Board members with modest compensation for time and expenses, in order to increase the number and diversity of Board nominees. In addition, the jury recommends the appointment process be revised to include two nominees from elected officials in each of the nine City Council districts.
The complete report can be found by clicking here.