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IOLERO, the Independent Office of Law Enforcement Review and Outreach, was established in 2016 as a result of community outrage after 13-year-old Andy Lopez was gunned down by Deputy Sheriff Gelhaus. Now, in December 2019, David Ward was killed by a chokehold used Deputy Sheriff Blount. Sonoma County needs independent, effective civilian oversight of our Sheriff's Office in order to better protect vulnerable communities including young people, immigrants, homeless people, and people with mental health challenges.
Best practices in modern law enforcement focus on community-oriented policing and collaborating with civilian oversight. Effective oversight increases transparency and accountability, which increases trust between law enforcement and all communities. IOLERO's effectiveness is currently challenged by inadequate staffing, inadequate budget, inadequate authority, and the Sheriff Office's refusal to grant IOLERO access to all relevant records and information.