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Measure G Would Change Police Oversight Rules

Photo caption:

Photo by Nathan Rupert / Flickr

A San Diego Police Department vehicle, December 11, 2010.

Measure G Would Change Police Oversight Rules


Todd Gloria, councilmember, City of San Diego

LaDoris Cordell, former Independent Police Auditor, City of San Jose


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.


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