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Supervisor proposes new civilian oversight body for Sheriff's Office

New office would oversee patrol, corrections divisions

A Santa Clara County supervisor is calling for a new civilian oversight body to keep an eye on county law enforcement and corrections.

Supervisor Joe Simitian, whose district includes Mountain View, has proposed a new Office of Correction and Law Enforcement Oversight as the next step in reforms enacted after the murder of an inmate at the Santa Clara County's main jail in 2015. The plan will be considered by the Board of Supervisors at its meeting on Tuesday.


Santa Clara County Supervisor Joe Simitian has proposed a new Office of Correction and Law Enforcement Oversight that would serve in an advisory function. Image courtesy Joe Simitian.
"Meaningful oversight is an essential component of the reform effort that has been under way for the past two years," Simitian said in a statement. "It's time to take the policy discussions we've had and turn them into tangible change."

The proposed office would oversee the Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office patrol and corrections divisions. It would oversee day-to-day operations, monitor and audit the investigation of complaints, make policy recommendations and conduct community outreach and mediation.

The proposal was one of the top two suggestions by the Blue Ribbon Commission on Improving Custody Relations established after the death of Santa Clara County inmate Michael Tyree, a 33-year-old mentally ill prisoner who was beaten to death by three deputies at San Jose's Main Jail in 2015.

The three deputies were later convicted of second-degree murder and will be sentenced on Nov. 3.

Simitian's proposal would also create a new Citizens' Access Oversight Committee to ensure public access, engagement and input. He said the citizen's committee would serve an advisory function.

"As proposed, it would not have an investigative power or authority," he said Thursday. "It would be advisory and designed to facilitate public access, engagement and participation."

He said the ordinance has taken into account community, county staff and sheriff's office suggestions as well as best practices recommended by law enforcement experts.

— Bay City News Service

Comments

24 people like this
Posted by Otto_Maddox
a resident of Monta Loma
on Sep 11, 2017 at 2:47 pm

Otto_Maddox is a registered user.

Part of the problem, as I see it, with Law Enforcement in the United States is the militarization of policing.

The job of a soldier is totally different than the job of a cop.

But this article is reinforcing the notion that cops are something other than civilian.

Unless you are subject to the Uniform Code of Military Justice you are a CIVILIAN.

I do agree that cops have lost sight of who they really work for and I think more oversight is a good thing.

Stop letting them get away with thinking they're something other than civilians. They are civilians just like the rest of us.


7 people like this
Posted by Maher
a resident of Martens-Carmelita
on Sep 11, 2017 at 6:35 pm

I favor civilian oversight of all police forces. The delusion that any organization is incorruptible i.e. will not turn blind eyes to malfeasance is simply naive. Lawyers, doctors, police, government officials should not self-regulate. Also whistleblowers should be encouraged and rewarded and protected for reporting proven corruptions.

Complicity in crimes by silent witnesses must not be encouraged or accepted.

I want arms' length oversight with clout to punish those who earn punishment by abusing their powers.


11 people like this
Posted by choose_a_name
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Sep 13, 2017 at 6:20 pm

choose_a_name is a registered user.

This is a poor idea, oversight is taken care of within the agencies involved. A civilian oversight body would provide another layer of needless input and provide a platform for local politicians and activists to rant about police brutality and remain at arm's length from the city and county governing bodies they represent. This is similar to Mountain View's Human Rights Commission, which is at arm's length from the city council. From the Human Rights Commission platform local politicians (who are supposed to be bipartisan) can decry federal objectives and rally for illegal immigrants and criminals. Similarly, this proposed oversight commission will be a platform for all locals to decry law enforcement actions when it suits them, enforce BLM mantras, for example and give cover to those politicians who want to foment disunity, all under the guise of a civic body that has everyone's interests at heart.


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