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Public Safety

Group Pushes To Reform San Diego Police Review Panel

San Diego police officers stand in a line revealing a patch on the right shoulder of their uniforms in this undated photo.
Nicholas McVicker
San Diego police officers stand in a line revealing a patch on the right shoulder of their uniforms in this undated photo.

A prospective ballot measure that would reform a panel that reviews the San Diego Police Department was submitted to the City Clerk's office Tuesday, with the aim of going before voters in November.

The measure from Women Occupy San Diego seeks to make the Citizens Review Board on Police Practices more independent. Trust of the San Diego Police Department and the board — which reviews serious complaints, officer-involved shootings, in-custody deaths and administration of discipline — lags in some communities, group leader Kate Yavenditti said.

She said she presented her ideas to two City Council committees and met with city officials, and doesn't think they'll take any action on the proposal.

Among other things, the proposed ballot measure would have each council member appoint three representatives to the board, for a total of 27. The 23- person board is currently made up of mayoral appointees.

Having the City Council appoint members will increase the diversity on the board, Yavenditti said.

The mayor would still be allowed to appoint the executive director, with the consent of both the City Council and the board.

Another provision would remove the city attorney as the board's legal counsel, because the office also represents the Police Department, which Yavenditti said is a conflict of interest.

She also proposes to not allow anyone from the Police Department to be present when cases are reviewed.

Two other potential ballot measures were submitted directly to the city for consideration before Tuesday's deadline.

One measure would authorize a 5 percent increase in the hotel room tax to a 15.5 percent maximum. It was submitted by Katheryn Rhodes, a frequent speaker before the City Council.

The other measure, from former Councilwoman Donna Frye, would promote open government.

The three submissions are expected to be reviewed Jan. 13 by the council's Rules Committee, which will decide whether to forward them to the full City Council.

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