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

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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.

Speaker 1: 00:00 The first step toward making the promise of measure, be a reality will take place at a virtual community meeting this afternoon. San Diego city voters passed measure B earlier this month, which gave approval for the creation of a new commission on police practices. The commission will have greater independence and resources to provide oversight of police actions than the existing review board. But measure B did not specify details about the commission, for instance, how it should be set up or how members should be chosen. So today's community round table asks the public how they'd like the commission to operate. Joining me is Patrick Anderson, a member of the existing community review board, and one of the hosts of today's meeting and Patrick, welcome to the program.

Speaker 2: 00:48 Thanks so much for having me. I'm happy to be here.

Speaker 1: 00:51 It hasn't even been a month since the vote approving measure B took place. Why are these community meetings starting so quickly?

Speaker 2: 00:59 A few months ago on the existing CRB, um, and with what looked to be very promising polls of measure B, we formed a transition committee, an ad hoc committee on the CRB to begin planning for what seemed like an inevitable transition. And so as part of that work, I, as the new chair of the outreach committee volunteered to, uh, create and host some of these round tables, hoping that the community can be involved in every stage of this transition process.

Speaker 1: 01:37 Okay. So can you remind us how different this new commission is supposed to be from the review board on police practices that you're a member of right now?

Speaker 2: 01:47 Sure, absolutely. So the first major difference is that this will be an independent commission, which means it won't be a part of the city's office of boards and commissions, but there's another really crucial difference, which is that the work that this commission will do will be based on its own investigations of all police shootings, all in custody deaths, and any complaints against SDPD that the commission feels need independent investigation. Currently we are what, uh, what's called a review board, which means that our work is limited to reviewing the investigations conducted by internal affairs of SDPD. So it's a significant difference.

Speaker 1: 02:38 And what aspects of the new commission are you hoping community members weigh in on

Speaker 2: 02:43 All aspects? Um, you know, I plan to host a number of these round tables and I should say I'm co-hosting tonight with the author of measure B Ondrea st. Julian and with another member of the CRB poppy Fitch, this first round table is intended to get the community to identify those key issues, themes, questions, and topics that are of intense concern to them about the new commission and about the transition. Once we've got a list of those key issues, we're going to plan follow up forums focused on each one in turn. So tonight I'm looking for questions about the process. I'm looking for key issues that different groups, um, are really focused on one such issue, by the way, is the application and appointment process for new commissioners. There are a lot of groups who want to ensure that that's a transparent process and that number of members of the community are able to apply and that the community is involved in the selection of commissioners. So the very first follow-up round table is going to be focused on that very issue.

Speaker 1: 04:00 Ultimately though, it's the city council that will draft an ordinance with all the specifics about the commission. So how confident are you that they'll take public input into consideration?

Speaker 2: 04:12 I am very optimistic that they'll take public input and we've had a good response from, uh, existing city council members and also the new city council members. When the transition committee, if the current CRB has met with them, I think you're right though, that we really need to stay focused on the city council and its various implementation ordinances to make sure that the commission lives up to the real promise of measure B

Speaker 1: 04:40 Speaking about the city council. Again, they will have to allocate funds to hire an executive director and attorney and staff for the new commission on police practices and considering the budget crunch, the city is going to face next year. Do you think that may be delayed?

Speaker 2: 04:56 I hope it isn't. I think measure B passed with almost 75% of the vote. I think the community has sent a clear and strong signal to the mayor and to the city council that this should be a top priority. And if San Diego wants to do this, right, it must give the funding required to the commission. Um, so that the eventual commissioners will be able to do exactly what the community has invested their faith in them to do.

Speaker 1: 05:27 Now, dozens of community groups have already been invited to today's meeting, but how can people listening join in on today's community round table?

Speaker 2: 05:36 That's right. We've actually invited over a hundred community groups. Um, over 50 have RSVP. Anybody is welcome to view the live stream. Uh, we'll start today at 4:00 PM. If you go to YouTube, do a search for city of San Diego public meetings, right around 4:00 PM. If you that page, you should see the live stream. Pop-up meanwhile, while you're watching the live stream, we invite you to send us an email with questions and comments to the following email address C P P outreach committee@gmail.com. We're going to record document and synthesize all of these comments after the meeting, but meanwhile, we're going to be monitoring the email while the round tables going on and time permitting. We'll move over questions and comments from email to the meeting itself.

Speaker 3: 06:37 And I have been speaking with Patrick Anderson, one of the hosts of today's community round table. Thank you so much for your time.

Speaker 2: 06:44 Thank you so much. Take care.

Speaker 3: 06:57 [inaudible].

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KPBS Midday Edition Segments

Maureen Cavanaugh and Jade Hindmon host KPBS Midday Edition, a daily radio news magazine keeping San Diego in the know on everything from politics to the arts.