Measure G Would Change Police Oversight Rules
There is no formal opposition to Measure G. Some supporters are saying that it doesn't go far enough. Women occupy San Diego first proposed the measure with the hopes of giving the board more power and legal advice from lawyers that don't work with the city attorney. Those provisions were taken out of the measure. Kate spoke in favor of Measure G We are pleased with attention that they have given this year. Obviously as you all know we are disappointed that our proposal and the main parts of our proposal were not adopted by the Council. We are not going away. We will continue to work on this. Other cities had the police oversight differently. San Jose has a independent police auditor instead of a community board. Joining me to discuss police oversight are LaDoris Cordell and city councilmember Todd Gloria. Welcome. Thank you. You are an official support a measure G it seems to be giving city Council oversight of the review board. Why is a significant? Because all of the additional reforms that have been recommended or advocated by people like woman occupy are possible at this point in time. They're all in the hands of the mayor. I giving the city Council an equal voice I think that we can continue to have those conversations. With the voters adopted the former government it was with the belief that both would be coequal. When it comes to the review board that is not the case. This measure itself would not actually change the way the board operates, is our right? That remain to be seen. With the councils influence and ongoing public hearings. The Council RE has taken a minimal action by providing $25,000 for outside legal counsel. So we done what we've can but measure G will expand that authority and allow us to continue to have this conversation. I don't think anyone believes that these concerns about police practices will go away anytime soon. I think Measure G will engage on this issue as opposed to what we currently have. In San Jose there was a professional office of outside lawyers led by you overseeing the Police Department. Here we have a volunteer board. Can not volunteer model work? It really depends on the locale and depends on what the volunteers can do. I will tell you I believe that independent oversight requires professionals. People who understand police procedures and understand criminal law procedures. People that are paid professionals to do this work. The problem with volunteers is that they generally are pointed -- appointed by city Council. And they have explicit but mostly implicit obligations to carry out the well of those that appoint them. Secondly, the volunteers are just having to get together when they can get together. It is not necessarily the case that we can get people together bright and early to do this work. It requires an ability -- we review complaints, understand how they are investigated, and to also understand whether or not these investigations are done in a unbiased fashion and whether or not the founding's are done appropriately. I'm where those who does not support having community volunteers do the police work. I think it should be civilians and they should be professionals and trained in this area. You've read through Measure G and since you been involved with police oversight issues for years, what is your take on how effective this measure could be? I applaud those that are pushing for police report. I think it is the be step. It is disappointing that a bigger step cannot have been taken. So the baby step is renaming it. That is kind of cosmetic. I don't think it will make any difference at all. It does say that the civilian board can now look at officer involved shootings and deadly uses of force. That's very important. Something that really should have been included under the preview and now it is. The bigger issue of who is the legal counsel for this group? That is an issue where conflicts of interest can arise when you have the city attorney's office. This is the way it was in San Jose. You have some attorneys just to the Police Department and we had an attorney assigned to our office but we rarely called upon that person. We were lawyers and four of us were lawyers so we were able to address the issues that involved our work without going to anyone else I. -- Outside. This is the belief that this is the best that the city of send you can do right now? That diminishes what this does. I think what this is is what we got through the public process. We had women occupy a country the city Council with a very aggressive proposal and we did public hearings about it. Members of the county review board and others and through that process what we heard was a lot of the things that women occupy were asking for were unnecessary. These were things that they never encountered. You also mentioned number things that really should not be in the city charter. If it's in the city charter the only way that it can change is to vote of the people. I think in a situation like this it is preferable to have a municipal code so that we can be a bit more dynamic and responsive. That's what Fran Pavley does. For those who want a showcase of legislation than this is probably not your measure. The truth is I think this would be a substantial change to the way we do review of police practices in San Diego. The first terminals three years and it's a step in the right direction. The trick after Whidbey to make sure that with additional powers given to the review board and to the city Council, this powers are used to continue address the concern with the focus is always on making sure that we can maintain the trust of the neighborhoods. The city attorney representing both the board of the Police Department and the city Council rejected the idea of independent lawyers because they said it was not a conflict of interest for the city attorney to represent both the board in the Police Department. Why is that not a conflict of interest? I believe that it is and it's I pushed so hard to get the $25,000 so that if the review board feels that they cannot be advised by the city Turner's office they would have a count of money to draw upon in that figure is actually more than the counties ever spent on outside legal counsel. We listened to the public testimony and consulted the professionals and acted accordingly we do have a city attorney that has opinion where I think is is encouraging that both candidates are as supportive outside legal counsel for the CR be. I think after November with this new framework in place we can take it in a good direction and can increase the level of trust. I've been speaking with Todd Gloria and LaDoris Cordell. Thank you both very much.
The City of San Diego’s Measure G would reform the city’s police oversight board, but even without formal opposition some supporters say it doesn’t do enough to increase the board’s power.
Measure G would make three changes to San Diego’s Citizens’ Review Board on Police Practices. It would give the City Council joint authority with the mayor’s office to oversee the board and would require the board to review all officer-involved shootings and deaths that occur in San Diego Police Department custody. The board already reviews those types of cases in an agreement with the police, but the measure would formalize that oversight. The measure would also swap the name “Citizens” with “Community.”
Women Occupy San Diego first proposed the measure, with the hopes of giving the board more power and legal advice from lawyers who don't work for the San Diego's City Attorney. Those provisions were taken out of the measure by the San Diego City Council. But Kate Yavenditti from Women Occupy said at a recent City Council meeting that despite the group’s disappointment, they still supported the measure.
“But we're not going away and will continue to work on this," she said.
Councilmember Todd Gloria, who helped write the final version of Measure G, said that despite those concerns the proposal would still add important checks on the board’s rules by including the council in the process.
“This is in some ways a cleanup, but I think it would do a significant amount to allow us to make additional reforms in the future,” Gloria told CityBeat last month. “Reforms that ought to be the result of additional hearings and conversations with the community.”
Other California cities handle police review differently. San Jose, for example, has an independent police auditor instead of a community board. Former San Jose auditor LaDoris Cordell, a retired Superior Court judge, praised Measure G’s expansion of the board’s powers to review officer-involved shootings and in-custody deaths. But she called the overall reform “window dressing.”
“I have found that, just in my experience, using a model of civilian review boards of volunteers is entirely ineffective,” Cordell said. “You need professionals, people trained in the law, criminal procedure.”
Gloria and Cordell join KPBS Midday Edition on Wednesday to discuss different approaches to police oversight.