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Public Safety

Committee Sends Initiative Forming Police Oversight Body To Full San Diego City Council

Milan Kovacevic
The San Diego Police Department headquarters is shown in this updated photo.

The San Diego City Council's Public Safety and Livable Neighborhoods Committee voted unanimously Wednesday to send a draft ballot measure to the full council that, if approved, would establish an independent oversight commission on police practices.

The measure, proposed by Women Occupy San Diego, would dissolve the city's Community Review Board on Police Practices and replace it with the commission, which would retain independent counsel and have subpoena power to investigate certain cases of misconduct by local law enforcement officers.

In voting for the measure, City Councilwoman Barbara Bry added that the selection of an executive director for the commission should be free from political influence.

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Currently, the CRB is considered an advisory board to the mayor's office and is represented by the city attorney's office. The CRB also lacks subpoena power and the authority to investigate police misconduct complaints. The commission would serve as a hybrid investigatory, review and auditing body.

City Attorney Mara Elliott proposed a similar initiative that would keep the CRB intact and grant it the right to retain independent counsel. At its last meeting in September, the PSLN Committee declined to continue considering that proposal to avoid confusion should both measures pass.

If the full council approves the measure later this year, it will appear on the November 2020 ballot.