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CLERB begins on scene responses to deputy shootings, custody deaths

The sign in front of the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department Administration Center, San Diego, August 13, 2018.
Claire Trageser
The sign in front of the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department Administration Center, San Diego, August 13, 2018.

In a move touted as a means of increasing public trust in the San Diego County Sheriff's Department, the advisory Citizen's Law Enforcement Review Board will begin responding to scenes of in-custody fatalities and deputy-involved shootings that result in critical injuries or deaths, officials announced Monday.

The new policy, enacted via a memorandum of understanding signed by CLERB Executive Officer Paul Parker and Acting Sheriff Kelly Martinez, takes effect immediately, calling for the presence of trained staffers with the review board at confirmed or potential death scenes involving the regional law enforcement agency.

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CLERB recommended the change to sheriff's officials last October.

According to Martinez, "fostering public trust means the sheriff's department must have investigations that are clearly understood, using a credible process and independent investigators." She added, "It is crucial that we have transparency in our work."

The advisory group's presence at the scenes of confirmed or likely deputy-involved fatalities will "increase the public's trust in the investigatory process," Parker stated.

"CLERB will now conduct truly independent death investigations, which will result in more accurate findings and, if applicable, more relevant policy and procedure recommendations," he said.

San Diego County voters established CLERB in 1990 to independently and impartially investigate citizen complaints against sheriff's deputies and probation officers. The panel makes advisory findings on complaints and recommendations for policy and procedure changes to the sheriff, chief probation officer and Board of Supervisors.


CLERB consists of 11 volunteers from the county's five supervisory districts who are prohibited from being affiliated in any way with the sheriff's department, probation department or other county agencies.

Members of the panel, which meets on the second Tuesday of each month, are nominated by the county chief administrative officer and appointed by the Board of Supervisors. CLERB is supported by three county employees — an executive officer, an investigator and an administrative assistant.

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