San Diego Moves Closer To Revamping Police Watchdog Commission
A San Diego City Council committee Wednesday approved two proposed charter amendments that would reform the city's Community Review Board on Police Practices.
Right now the Community Review Board examines investigations of officers by the department's Internal Affairs Unit. One charter amendment would allow the board to conduct its own investigations, specifically in officer-involved shootings and deaths of people in police custody.
"The key to effective policing is the community's trust in law enforcement and the community's belief that law enforcement is accountable to residents for its action," said Andrea St. Julian, a lawyer and author of the proposed amendment, during a meeting of the council's rules committee.
The amendment would also take the power to appoint members of the review board away from the mayor's office and reserve two seats for young people between the ages of 18 and 21.
"At its base, this charter amendment is a recognition that police officers really should be subject to independent oversight just like other professionals are," St. Julian said.
The proposal is now headed to the council's public safety committee. The rules committee also approved a proposal by City Attorney Mara Elliott calling for the review board to have its own attorney. Currently, the City Attorney's office provides legal counsel to both the police department and the review board.