Under existing law, the Mayor and City Council (Council) have established the Community Review Board on Police Practices (CRB), which reviews and evaluates citizens’ complaints against City police officers and the Department’s administration of discipline arising from complaints. The CRB may independently refer an investigation to the grand jury, district attorney, or any other governmental agency authorized by law to investigate the activities of a law enforcement agency. The CRB is also required to review all deaths occurring while a person is in City police custody and all police officer-related shootings, but the CRB does not independently investigate these incidents.
Measure B would dissolve the CRB and replace it with a Commission on Police Practices (Commission). The Commission would serve as an investigatory body of the City, operating independent of the Police Department and Mayor. he Commission must retain its own legal counsel, independent of the City Attorney. Commission staff must be employed in accordance with the City’s civil service rules and annual salary ordinance, and must follow City rules related to contracts and records retention, confidentiality, and disclosure.
The Commission would initially be composed of members of the CRB. The Council would formally appoint Commission members after establishing, by ordinance, the number, term length, qualifications, and method for appointments, and defining the circumstances and process under which Commission members may be removed for cause.
The Commission would have the power to subpoena witnesses and documents, enforceable through contempt proceedings under state law, and would retain the authority to refer cases to outside law enforcement agencies. The Commission would be required to investigate all deaths occurring while a person is in Department custody, all deaths resulting from interaction with a City police officer, and all City officer-related shootings. Investigations must be conducted in accordance with rights afforded to police officers under federal and state law.
The Commission would also be required to receive and review all complaints against City police officers except in specified circumstances. The Commission would have the authority to investigate complaints against officers but must first consider specified factors. Also, the Commission may, but would not be required to, review, evaluate, and investigate allegations of inappropriate sexual conduct, physical assault, or domestic violence by officers.
The Commission may make recommendations to the Police Chief on policies and discipline, but the Police Chief would retain existing authority under the Charter, including the authority to determine discipline of subordinate officers.
Source: City Attorney's Impartial Analysis of Measure B