Strong leadership from Jim McDonnell


Yesterday Jim McDonnell, a candidate for LA County sheriff, called for the County Board of Supervisors to approve a civilian commission to provide oversight of the department. Read his full statement. McDonnell is likely to be elected our next sheriff this fall, since he received around half of the vote in the crowded primary last month.

I've written before about the need for reform and tough civilian oversight of the Sheriff's office, to get off the treadmill of crisis after scandal after crisis. I'm impressed by McDonnell's leadership on this issue now. It matters. He's taking a risk for reform, since he has not yet been elected -- but he's willing to step up to the plate to do the right thing for citizens of LA County.

I've been disappointed and disturbed by the lack of progress on civilian oversight from the sheriff's office so far. The problems in the department are systemic, and there will be no lasting change until we as citizens demand and enforce it. Delays won't make the issues go away, and LA County deserves a fully functional Sheriff's department sooner rather than later.

By enthusiastically endorsing the creation of a citizen's oversight commission, McDonnell is making good on a promise to usher in a new day of transparency, accountability and cooperation between the people of Los Angeles County and their Sheriff's Department. I look forward to that new day, and can only hope it arrives soon.

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