Bird Marella principal Hernán Vera spoke with the Los Angeles Times regarding the newly formed Civilian Oversight Commission of the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department.
Mr. Vera was appointed by Supervisor Hilda Solis in January to a Workgroup tasked with making policy recommendations to the Board of Supervisors on the scope, mission, powers, and structure of the oversight body. The Workgroup held hearings and town halls for the past six months to obtain community feedback, and recently submitted a lengthy report to the Supervisors with its recommendations. Mr. Vera formally presented the report (and answered questions about its creation) in testimony before the Board on July 28, 2015.
One of the more contentious issues in the Workgroup’s report is the recommendation that the Board place on the ballot a County Charter amendment granting the Civilian Oversight Commission subpoena power over the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department. Working group members voted 4-3 in favor of this recommendation.
Mr. Vera, who voted to recommend granting subpoena power to the Commission, testified specifically about the need for subpoena power: “We have incredible respect for the [current] sheriff, but we wanted to set up this commission for the long term. The commission, bottom line, would be dependent on the goodwill and generosity of the Sheriff’s Department to get the records that it needs.”
The Board has yet to act on the Workgroup’s report.
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