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New La Mesa group explores options for police oversight

Posted at 12:37 AM, Jun 18, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-18 08:58:00-04

LA MESA, Calif. (KGTV) -- The Citizen Public Safety Oversight Task Force of La Mesa met Wednesday virtually, following two high-profile incidents involving the city's police department.

The recently formed group is tasked with looking at whether La Mesa needs a police oversight committee and then decide what it will look like.

The group's chair, Jamal McRae, realizes they are a temporary task force, but hopes it rolls over to become the permanent commission.

"We're still trying to educate ourselves as to what our committee will do, as far as, will be able to have subpoena power? Do we want subpoena power? We're still in the research phase." McRae said. "We're trying to determine whether we want to put this on a ballot to have individuals on the city vote on it, or if we wish the city council will just have the final say.

McRae points out the idea for the task force came before the controversial incidents involving La Mesa police officers, and before the national calls for police reform following the death of George Floyd.

"We're a group of individual citizens that got together and wanted to make a change in the community after the Helix High School incident," McRae said. "So we have been running through some ideas for a few years, just among community members."

McRae says the group understands the importance of their work and the urgency to complete their tasks. That's why they have scheduled three meetings next month. The meetings are scheduled for July 1, July 8, and July 15.

They hope to present a plan and a sense of direction to the city council by the end of July.