Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda L. Solis released the following statement after the Board of Supervisors approved her motion directing the County’s legislative advocates in Sacramento to support AB 1185, which would authorize California counties to establish a sheriff oversight board:

“LA County recognizes the need for sheriff accountability and transparency. Though the Civilian Oversight Commission and the Office of Inspector General (OIG) are working in concert to address community concerns related to such issues as the Body Worn Cameras program and the Mental Health Evaluation Teams, it has been challenging for the Commission and the OIG to obtain information from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department (LASD) or to even have the Sheriff attend the Commission’s meetings. Many times, questions remain unanswered due to the inability to directly ask the Sheriff.

“In March, LA County voters overwhelming voted for Measure R, which gave the Commission, through the OIG, the power to issue a subpoena. This power was exercised for the first time in May 2020 when the Sheriff failed to show up at a Commission meeting to report on the COVID-19 situation in County jails. The OIG issued a subpoena, which was promptly ignored.

“AB 1185 would not just bolster the Commission, but it would also strengthen the subpoena power the Commission was given by this Board and voters. Time and time again, LASD has minimized the oversight bodies’ responsibilities to investigate by flagging it as obstructions, when they are not. Civilian oversight of the LASD is an integral component of democracy. Now is the time to ramp up accountability and oversight of LASD and give voice to our communities.”

Today’s Board motion instructs the County’s legislative advocates in Sacramento to support AB 1185, which would authorize counties in California to establish a sheriff oversight body and/or inspector general, and authorize these bodies powers to issue subpoenas for more effective oversight of sheriff departments.

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Contact: Rosa Maria Santana, Deputy Communications Director, rsantana@bos.lacounty.gov