San Diego

Ex-county law enforcement watchdog tapped to lead city of San Diego's police oversight commission

Paul Parker's employment is expected to be confirmed by the San Diego City Council on Tuesday morning

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As the City of San Diego's Commission of Police Practices continues to build its foundation, it has tapped a seasoned law enforcement oversight official as its new executive director.

Paul Parker, the former executive officer of the County of San Diego's Citizens' Law Enforcement Review Board, has been hired to lead the city commission following a months-long national search and hiring process, Dr. Danell Scarborough, the commission's current interim executive director said Friday.

Parker is "a proven change agent who has experience working with law enforcement and the community, and he knows San Diego well," said Gloria Tran, the commission's chair. "Paul will be a valuable asset as the commission builds a strong foundation and becomes an exemplary model of civilian oversight."

Parker served as CLERB's executive director twice. First from 2017-2018 and again from late-2020 until his abrupt resignation in mid-March of this year.

During new San Diego Police Chief Scott Wahl's April 29 hearing, San Diego City Councilmember Marni von Wilpert asked how Wahl envisioned strengthening the partnership with the oversight commission.

"At its core, the purpose of the Commission on Police Practices is to help foster trust in the community with independent oversight and help foster safety for our community and our police officers. I'm completely on board with that," Wahl responded. "I look at it as, we're not perfect, and we can improve. But I'm open to letting the commission take a look at what we do and work with us on trying to be better for everybody."

Parker was previously a police officer for 10 years before spending most of the last 20 years in the medical examiner/coroner field in various southwestern cities, including San Diego, Phoenix, Las Vegas and Los Angeles, according to a 2020 press release from the County of San Diego.

In November 2020, 75% of San Diego voters approved the creation of an independent Commission on Police Practices to replace the Community Review Board on Police Practices.

After a nearly two-and-a-half-year delay, the San Diego City Council named the commission's 25 members in May 2023 — representing not only the city's nine council districts but also low- to moderate-income earners and youth.

Since being sworn in last August, commissioners have already reviewed dozens of cases, Tran said.

Parker's expected salary will be $203,000, according to the City of San Diego. That's roughly $50,000 more than the salary he earned working at CLERB, public records data obtained by NBC 7 shows.

Parker's employment is expected to be confirmed by the San Diego City Council on Tuesday morning.

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