A majority on the newly configured Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors supports the creation of a civilian oversight commission for the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, which represents a significant policy shift for the panel, it was reported Friday.
Backers of the commission idea have argued that it is needed to provide greater scrutiny of a department mired in scandals, including federal criminal charges related to obstruction of justice and mistreatment of jail inmates. Supervisors Mark Ridley-Thomas and Gloria Molina proposed creating such a panel more than a year ago, but the plan was rejected in August.
The three supervisors forming the majority said at the time that they wanted to focus on setting up the newly created county inspector general’s office for the Sheriff’s Department and questioned whether a commission would have any real authority over the elected sheriff, the Los Angeles Times reported.
But last week, Molina and Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky, who cast the swing vote against the oversight proposal in August, were termed out of office. Their successors, former U.S. Labor Secretary Hilda Solis and former state lawmaker Sheila Kuehl, appear prepared to reverse the vote, The Times reported.
Solis joined Ridley-Thomas in reviving the oversight question in a proposal slated for a vote at the board’s meeting Tuesday, according to The Times.
The proposal calls for the establishment of a civilian oversight body and a panel — made up of county attorneys and representatives of the sheriff, inspector general and supervisors — to hash out how the new commission would be structured and what its powers would be, The Times reported.
Kuehl told The Times Thursday that she is prepared to vote for the proposal.
—City News Service
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