In Measure P the people of Sonoma County voted for stronger police reform by close to 65 percent approval. This decisive approbation for stronger civilian oversight of law enforcement (IOLERO) included pertinent case investigations, subpoena power, published body camera footage and prior personnel complaint records.
Now, a four-member appointed state commission of the California Public Employment Relations Board has in effect gutted the people’s vote on a “collective bargaining” technicality. Police and Sheriff’s unions complain they’ve “had no seat at the table” when it is these same agency’s actions – police killings of civilians – that have sparked the demand for police reform here and across the nation.
It is plainly clear and historically evident that the Sheriff of Sonoma County, Mark Essick, and the county’s law enforcement unions are not interested in police reform, independent investigation or transparency in the hiring and training of police officers. They don’t want a seat at the table, they want to run the table and stack the deck. They consider public oversight, body cameras, and accountability for their actions a nuisance and a hindrance.
This should not stand. The county has only 30-days to appeal the state board’s absurd and outrageous decision to cancel what the people of Sonoma have demanded.
— Will Shonbrun, Sonoma