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City appoints commission to investigate SDPD practices, complaints

City appoints 25 people to oversee San Diego Police Dept. practices
Posted at 6:08 PM, May 22, 2023
and last updated 2023-05-22 21:33:20-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — It's been years in the making.

On Monday morning, the city council gave 25 people the power to oversee the San Diego Police Department. Some of them are teachers, some human rights advocates, and now all of them are watchdogs for the community.

"It's an era of accountability for all of San Diego Police, citizens, visitors, politicians, civil servants and more," said Clovis Honoré, an appointed commissioner.

They will serve on the Commission on Police Practices. Anyone can submit a complaint against a police officer, and the Commission would investigate it.

Commissioners hold subpoena power and the freedom to conduct investigations into police shootings and the use of force.

"By the time we get to police use of force, you've probably gotten an escalated situation, which means something transpired before that," Honoré said. "How do we make sure those things don't happen in the first place?"

"Police matters have always been important to me," said Gloria Tran, an appointed commissioner. "I hope to better the relationship between the community and police. I think I can see both sides of an issue."

None of this would have happened without Attorney Andrea St. Julian. She authored the ballot measure that passed with overwhelming support in November of 2020 and created this new commission.

"The community didn't have much trust in the Police Department, and that lack of trust makes all of us less safe," St Julian said.

But St. Julian says she's disappointed that it took the City more than two years to appoint permanent commissioners. An interim commission temporarily took over the responsibilities, but it was severely understaffed. There's now a backlog of more than 100 cases to investigate.

"The Commission over the last 31 months really has done nothing more and could do nothing more than some reviews of investigations that have already been done by the Police Department."

These newly appointed commissioners will replace the interim commission and will take over those cases.

"I'm excited to work with some amazing people, and I'm ready to do the work," Tran said.

City leaders say these commissioners will need up to one year of training before addressing the backlog of cases. The Public Safety Committee will discuss these cases at their next meeting on June 7.