That was on my mind at the Baptist Ministers Conference Forum on Monday. Who among these candidates for Sheriff will stand tough for independent civilian oversight?
I've been saying for a long time that reform is essential for this department, which has been wracked by one crisis and scandal after another over the years. We have an opportunity now, and we cannot waste it.
We need to study all the candidates carefully, and ask them the hard questions – so we make the right choice for change in the upcoming election.
It’s time to clean up our act, stop the never-ending cycle of scandals and inquiries, lax enforcement, and ignored promises of change. LA County needs better and we deserve better – especially those swept up in the criminal justice system that have the least amount of power to advocate for themselves. The law enforcement community is not a law unto themselves, it’s a partnership with the broader community. They serve us, the people, and we need to be willing to step up our oversight and keep our half of the bargain.
Without a doubt, we need to establish a permanent citizen's oversight commission. 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. In addition to that, we need a leader in the Sheriff's office that is not afraid to examine all their practices, and make long overdue changes.
This is not about revolution. This is about transformation--21st century, constitutional policing. Who will be the right candidate to lead us there?