We are a group of concerned community members who’ve been active and involved in issues regarding the Sheriff's Office. Our membership includes: Former members of the Community and Local Law Enforcement Task Force (CALLE), IOLERO Community Advisory Council (CAC), the Former IOLERO Director, and community activists who have participated in the formation and operation of the agency for the last 6 years.
We're committed to having the best Sheriff’s Office for Sonoma County and to that end support making IOLERO the most effective civilian oversight office possible. We hope you will join us in supporting the Evelyn Cheatham Effective IOLERO Ordinance.
Committee Members Tabling on MLK Day (Left to Right): Jim Duffy, Susan Lamont, and Jerry Threet
Almost twenty years ago, the California Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on
Civil Rights issued a report on "Community Concerns About Law Enforcement in Sonoma County." (See PDF Below) In response to many incidents of excessive use of force, the committee recommended that "the cities of Rohnert Park and Santa Rosa and the county sheriff require the immediate creation of civilian review boards." None of them took up the recommendation and civilian oversight did not happen.
Andy Lopez was born one month after the report was issued. It took thirteen years and his death at the hands of a Deputy Sheriff, combined with considerable protest by the community, before the Board of Supervisors finally created a task force to consider the issue.
The Community and Local Law Enforcement (CALLE) Task Force, comprised of 21
diverse community members, held weekly public meetings for 15 months. With community input, the task force made 22 recommendations to the Board of Supervisors, only three of which were accepted. (See PDF Below)
One of the three was the creation of an independent auditor/civilian review office for the Sheriff, which, in 2015, became the Independent Office of Law Enforcement Review and Outreach (IOERO). Its goal, through the review of investigations and policy, was to make both the residents and law enforcement officers safer and increase community confidence in law enforcement. The office would both react to incidents and work to prevent them in the future. Additionally, it was hoped that the ever-increasing costs of lawsuits (averaging $1 million per year at the time and now greater) to the county's taxpayers would be reduced as the Sheriff's Office implemented nationally recognized
"best practices." The task force set forth several guidelines for achieving these goals. They were:
These important missions have proven impossible to achieve due to a two-person staff and a bare-bones budget. Even with these limitations, IOLERO has had significant successes. IOLERO and its CAC worked closely with the Sheriff's Office, the community, and subject matter experts to recommend valuable policy revisions in the areas of limiting the Sheriff's cooperation with federal immigration enforcement, treating homeless people with dignity and sensitivity, and equipping deputies in the jail
with body-worn cameras. Should the proposed ballot measure appear on the ballot and be passed, the public can expect EVEN MORE successes of this kind that bring the public into the process.
Three-and-one-half years after the creation of IOLERO, its mission remains unfulfilled for lack of money, inadequate staffing, and the Sheriff's Office withholding access to information controlled by them. Rather than severely curtail IOLERO's original mission, a new ordinance has been written to address the current shortcomings. It was written in consultation with the first director of IOLERO, who used his three years of experience with the office to provide valuable insight. The new amendments to the IOLERO Ordinance are supported by the Board of Directors of the National Organization for Civilian Oversight of Law Enforcement (See PDF of Endorsement Below), as the next step in achieving effective oversight in Sonoma County. We hope to see this ordinance on the ballot in November of 2020 to more successfully fulfill the goals envisioned by the task force in 2015.
WE NEED YOUR HELP TO ACHIEVE THIS GOAL!
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