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Public Invited To Weigh In On San Diego’s New Police Oversight Commission

A line of police officers in front of the San Diego Police Department headqua...

Credit: San Diego Police Department

Above: A line of police officers in front of the San Diego Police Department headquarters in downtown San Diego on Aug. 29, 2020, before a planned protest against police brutality over the shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin.

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It will be the first chance for public comment on the new Commission on Police Practices, which city voters approved in the Nov. 3 election.

Aired: November 30, 2020 | Transcript

Listen to this story by Claire Trageser.

Beginning Monday, the public will have the opportunity to comment on how San Diego’s new, and more robust, police review commission should operate.

On Nov. 3, city voters overwhelmingly approved Measure B, which established the Commission on Police Practices to oversee the San Diego Police Department. The commission will have independent oversight of the department, including subpoena power, and the freedom to conduct its own investigations into police shootings and other use of force incidents.

The current police review board is limited to reviewing investigations conducted by the SDPD’s internal affairs division.

But though Measure B passed, the San Diego City Council still needs to draft and pass an implementation ordinance that will lay out how the commission works, how many members it will have and how those members will be chosen.

RELATED: San Diego's Police Reform Measure Passed, What Happens Next?

Patrick Anderson, a member of the existing community review board, will host the meetings along with Andrea St. Julian, co-chair of San Diegans for Justice, which led the push for the passage of Measure B.

"Andrea and many people who for years have been advocating for the Commission on Police Practices, they know their stuff, they put everything into that measure that should have been in that measure, and now it's up to the City Council to write and pass an ordinance that builds a commission in the spirit of that measure," Anderson said.

Anderson invited representatives from more than 100 community groups to be part of the roundtable. The city will also live stream the discussion, and any member of the community can email in questions and comments to CPPOutreachCommittee@gmail.com.

"When the ordinance rolls out, we want to know, is the community proud of that, does it have faith that the Commission on Police Practices that's put in place actually represents Measure B," Anderson said.

Anderson and the other members of the current review board will stay on as interim commissioners while the commission is officially set up. The mayor and City Council will also have to budget money to hire a full-time executive director, an independent attorney and staff to support the commission.

But there are questions around when that might happen.

Councilmember Monica Montgomery Steppe, who strongly supported Measure B, said funding might not come until the next fiscal year budget, which won’t be approved until June of 2021. Meanwhile, St. Julian said she expects a new executive director to be hired right away.

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Photo of Claire Trageser

Claire Trageser
Investigative Reporter

opening quote marksclosing quote marksAs a member of the KPBS investigative team, my job is to hold the powerful in San Diego County accountable. I've done in-depth investigations on political campaigns, police officer misconduct and neighborhood quality of life issues.

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