A New Day for the LA County Sheriff’s Office


The LA County Sheriff's Office has needed change and accountability for a long time, and finally, that day has come. The county has elected new leadership for the department this fall. Also, on Tuesday Sheila Kuehl and Hilda Solis joined with me as the Board of Supervisors voted at last to create a civilian oversight commission. LA County is sending a clear signal with respect to reform, openness, transparency and accountability.

Several cities in this country have mechanisms for civilian oversight over law enforcement departments, to make sure that the rights of all are respected and the constitution is enforced in the jails as well as the courts. Now, at last, we have an oversight commission too.

Jim McDonnell showed clear leadership with his endorsement of accountability and transparency in the department, and recognition that an independent advisory oversight commission is an important tool in restoring public confidence. That's one of the reasons why I felt he is the right person to lead the department to a new era.

I think together we will turn the corner on the scandals and crises, and provide a new level of service to the people of Los Angeles County. Perhaps we can eventually become a model to communities in crisis around the country. National public confidence in our system of justice has been shaken by highly publicized incidents of what many perceive as disparate treatment and excessive force. I thank the Sheriff's Department personnel who overwhelmingly perform their jobs with honesty and integrity, but recognize that we have a lot of ground we must cover for the police in general to regain the trust of communities of color.

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