By: Todd Spitzer, Chairman, O.C. Board of Supervisors
Orange County Board of Supervisors Chairman Todd Spitzer called a Special Board Hearing on adopting a new public safety oversight model in Orange County. The hearing provided the Board of Supervisors with the opportunity to receive testimony, hold discussion and analyze various oversight models including the Office of Independent Review.
A prominent group of distinguished presenters discussed options with the Board of Supervisors. The speakers included: Orange County Sheriff-Coroner Sandra Hutchens; Merrick Bobb, Executive Director of the Police Assessment Resource Center; Erwin Chemerinsky, Dean of the University of California, Irvine School of Law; Kimberly Edds, a former Orange County Register reporter and spokeswoman for the Association of Orange County Deputy Sheriffs; Brian Buchner, President of the National Association for Civilian Oversight of Law Enforcement (NACOLE) and Michael Gennaco, Principal at OIR Group.
The contract for the current Office of Independent Review (OIR) expires at the end of August. The Board expressed its intention to not renew the contract for the current provider and expressed interest selecting a different model that allows for stronger oversight and transparency of law enforcement.
The Orange County Office of Independent Review was established by the prior Board of Supervisors in 2008 to “monitor, assist, oversee and advise” the Orange County Sheriff-Coroner Department in its handling of critical incidents and allegations of employee misconduct.
“We need changes in public safety oversight,” said Chairman Spitzer. “We also don’t want to see any lapse in civilian oversight, despite the upcoming contract expiration.”
At the meeting, Chairman Spitzer and Supervisor Andrew Do were selected to serve as an ad hoc committee to study the various models, and they are anticipated to return to the Board at the August 4 meeting to offer recommendations for an interim solution to approve at the August 25 meeting. This will allow for a solution prior to the expiration of Connolly’s contract on August 31.