The San Diego City Council on Wednesday released details of a proposed ballot measure that, if passed, would implement an independent commission that would review all officer-involved shootings and in-custody deaths and investigate other department-related incidents.
“I am looking forward to giving voters the opportunity to bring more transparency and accountability to public safety in San Diego,” said City Council President Georgette Gómez. “A truly independent commission is essential to making law enforcement officers more responsive and more accountable to the people they serve. I thank my colleague, Councilmember Monica Montgomery, for her persistent leadership on this critical issue.”
According to the measure, the commission, which will be independent from the mayor and San Diego Police Department, will investigate all officer-involved shootings, in-custody deaths, and deaths related to interaction with San Diego police “whether or not a complaint has been made against a police officer or the Police Department.”
The commission can also, but is not required to, investigate complaints made against officers that don’t involve deaths or officer-involved shootings.
The City Council will give the commission subpoena power to call witnesses and hear testimony, and review any necessary records.
“The Commission may enforce its administrative subpoenas by initiating contempt procedures, upon a majority vote of the Commission and in the manner provided by applicable state law,” according to the measure.
Evaluations of proposed officer discipline will also be conducted by the commission, and its evaluations must be considered by the Chief of Police prior carrying out any disciplinary action.
“The Chief of Police retains authority and discretion to discipline subordinate employees in the Police Department, in accordance with Section 57 of this Charter,” the measure states.
Members of the commission will be appointed by the city council, and can be removed with a majority vote. The council will be responsible for establishing the number of members, term length, qualifications, and method of appointment.
Mayor Kevin Faulconer said he fully supports the measure.
Next Tuesday, June 23, the City Council will vote on two actions moving the measure closer to appearing on the November ballot.