Councilman Todd Gloria Recommends City Spend $500K to Revamp Citizens Review Board

The money would be spent to help make the police review board more transparent

San Diego City Councilman Todd Gloria is recommending that the city of San Diego spend half a million dollars to help revamp the citizens board tasked with reviewing police behavior.

In the memo to the city’s budget analyst Andrea Tevlin, Gloria said, “Public trust between law enforcement and members of the community is critical to allow our officers to keep San Diego safe.”

The 3rd District councilman added, “funding reforms for the Citizens' Review Board on Police Practices are investments in oversight and accountability to foster that trust."

In December, an NBC 7 Investigates story revealed how two former Citizens Review Board (CRB) members, Lucy Pearson and Benetta Buell-Wilson, said they think the board has a “fixed” and ineffective review process. According to the women, the process subverts the board's intent, something that’s detrimental not just for citizens but for San Diego Police Department (SDPD) officers as well.

Click here to see the complete investigation.

Women Occupy San Diego submitted a ballot proposal last month calling for changes to the review board. The women are advocating for the proposal to be included on the November ballot.

City Councilwoman Marti Emerald told NBC 7 Investigates she asked the budget analyst to provide a cost estimate to set up a board like the city’s ethics commission. It has independent staff investigators and an independent legal counsel.

Currently, the CRB receives its legal advice from the San Diego City Attorney’s Office and only reviews reports submitted to them by the SDPD’s Internal Affairs Division.

Ethics Commission members are appointed by the mayor, but unlike the review board, the list for appointees are chosen through candidates picked by the city attorney and city council.

Emerald said the city council’s Public Safety Committee will be discussing the possible options and ideas for changing or replacing the current model at their next meeting March 2.

Gloria said he wants the review board reforms implemented by fiscal year 2017.

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