The Board of Supervisors Wednesday approved a set of criteria for choosing candidates for the Civilian Oversight Commission, established to oversee the Sheriff’s Department.
Members, who will not be paid, must be available to spend as much as 20- 25 hours per week to serve on the commission. Candidates should also plan to complete training on the use of force and firearms; defensive tactics; mediation techniques; and constitutional policing. Training could also include ride-alongs and simulations.
In addition to a record of “substantial community involvement,” candidates should have a “reputation for integrity, honesty and character,” according to board documents.
Other requirements are more specific. Would-be commissioners must be residents of Los Angeles County for at least the last two years prior to their appointment, not be involved in any active litigation against the county and not be currently employed by any police or other law enforcement agency. Candidates will be asked to submit to a Live Scan background check.
The three-page list of criteria also focuses on commissioners’ ability to collaborate with others and act impartially.
These requirements apply to the four members of the commission to be selected at large.
Five members of the agency will be hand-selected — one each — by the supervisors.
Those five will develop a slate of 20 additional candidates — using the criteria approved Wednesday and expected recommendations from District Attorney Jackie Lacey, Public Defender Ronald Brown, Alternate Public Defender Janice Fukai and Los Angeles Superior Court Presiding Judge Carolyn Kuhl — and present six to the board for a vote in August.
The Coalition to End Sheriff Violence in Los Angeles Jails — which pressed for civilian oversight — has submitted nine nominees of its own, including Patrisse Cullors, founder of Dignity and Power Now and co-founder of the Black Lives Matter National network; Rabbi Heather Miller of the LGBT- founded Jewish congregation at Beth Chayim Chadashim; Priscilla Ocen, associate professor of law at Loyola Law School; and community activists who have spent time in jail.
“The credibility of civilian oversight will largely depend on who is appointed to sit on this commission,” said Mark-Anthony Johnson of Dignity and Power Now, a member of the broader coalition. “If we are going to prevent the type of abuses exposed under former Sheriff Baca and former Undersheriff Paul Tanaka’s watch, this commission must be shaped by independent black and brown community leaders and those who know firsthand the conditions inside the jails.”
Though commissioners will not be paid, 10 paid staffers are expected to be needed to manage the nine-member commission and those salaries, benefits and other related expenses are expected to cost the county just over $1.3 million, according to board documents.
— Wire reports
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