About the San Diego Sheriff’s Department (SDSD) and the Citizens’ Law Enforcement Review Board (CLERB):
SDSD is the largest law enforcement organization in the county, and one of the largest in the United States, with over 4,000 officers and employees and a budget of nearly $1 billion dollars. The department oversees all unincorporated parts of the county, as well as the cities of Del Mar, Encinitas, Imperial Beach, Lemon Grove, Poway, San Marcos, Santee, Solana Beach, and Vista. SDSD oversees county jails, where many are held without having been convicted of a crime.
San Diego voters established CLERB in 1990, giving the body the ability to independently investigate alleged wrongdoing by SDSD. Despite this ability, CLERB has been unable to hold county law enforcement fully accountable for misconduct, poor jail conditions, harassment, and other wrongdoing.
Why is Reform Needed:
Over the years, there have been numerous reports of dangerous conditions in jails, patterns of harassment and disparate mistreatment of residents by deputy sheriffs. CLERB has been unable to hold county law enforcement fully accountable for these inappropriate actions. This has led our county jails to have one of the highest death rates in the state.
These are systemic injustices and right now, San Diegans do not have effective mechanisms to hold county law enforcement accountable when abuse, misconduct, harassment, violence, or death occur.
As with Measure B in the City of San Diego, San Diegans for Justice is looking to increase accountability and transparency of the San Diego Sheriff’s Department thereby increasing trust between law enforcement and the community. This increased trust will make everyone in the community safer, including residents and members of law enforcement.
This is where CLERB comes in.
San Diegans for Justice commissioned a comprehensive analysis from University of Chicago Law School professor and nationally renowned civilian oversight expert, Sharon R. Fairley, to outline strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities to further the cause of justice in San Diego County.
The following is a list of the most important recommendations from the report:
Improving the independence and timeliness of CLERB’s investigative process
Enforcing CLERB’s subpoena power and the County’s duty to cooperate
Increasing CLERB’s resources to fund more investigative human capital
Enhancing the transparency of CLERB’s Board Member selection process and enhance community representation
Ensuring CLERB’s case review process reflects a rigorous review of the key reports and evidence
Increasing transparency about CLERB’s work
San Diegans for Justice is hosting a CLERB Community Forum on March 8 at 5:30pm. Attend the forum to get your questions answered and plug into our reform efforts.