County’s law enforcement unions are ‘committed to oversight and reform’

Posted on July 5, 2022 by Sonoma Valley Sun

The Sonoma County Law Enforcement Association (“SCLEA”) and Deputy Sheriffs’ Association  (“DSA”) have never opposed strengthening law enforcement oversight. The voters’ adoption of  Measure P sent a strong message that the County’s residents want enhanced oversight measures.  This is a message SCLEA and the DSA fully embrace. 

The agencies released this joint statement in rebuttal to an editorial in the Press Democrat newspaper.

The Associations did not seek relief from the Public Employment Relations Board (“PERB”) to  be an “obstacle” to enhanced oversight measures, or “undercut” Measure P. Far from it. Rather,  the Associations have a duty to ensure that new oversight measures not only achieve greater trust  in law enforcement, but respect their legal right to collectively bargain their working conditions. 

State law recognizes that all of these goals can be achieved through collaborative discussion with  the men and women most impacted by the oversight measures. Discussion among all stakeholders  for any major public endeavor, especially one as complicated as law enforcement oversight, serves  the public’s interest. Collaboration fosters understanding and “buy in” amongst those most  impacted – a necessary ingredient to any successful oversight proposal. The agreement reached  between the County, IOLERO, and the Associations is further proof of this concept. The public  was better served by taking the time to work through the particulars of Measure P. 

The Court of Appeal did not “unanimously overturn” PERB’s decision that the County violated  state labor law. While the Court’s decision found that PERB applied the wrong legal test on one  legal issue, it did not find that PERB’s decision was ultimately incorrect. Moreover, the Court also  found that the County, in fact, violated state labor law by placing certain Measure P provisions on  the ballot without first negotiating with the Associations over their impacts and effects. This  affirmed PERB’s decision. The Court also affirmed PERB’s findings that the County was not  under any impending deadline to place Measure P on the ballot, and could have, and should have,  negotiated prior to doing so. 

The Associations are proud to have partnered with the County and IOLERO to strengthen law  enforcement oversight and implement the voters’ will. The County will agree that any suggestion that the parties’ agreement resulted from the pending litigation is false. The parties’ collaboration  began prior to the litigation commencing, and wrapped up weeks before the Court’s decision was  issued. 

The Associations are committed to oversight and reform, and look forward to future collaborative efforts when the need arises. In the meantime, however, their members will continue to proudly  serve the residents of Sonoma County and work to ensure the public’s safety and trust. 

— Cody Ebert, DSA President 

— Damian Evans, SCLEA President 


2 thoughts on “County’s law enforcement unions are ‘committed to oversight and reform’

  1. Interesting piece. In all the meetings I attended at the county level on Measure P, this spirit of cooperation was absent from these same groups. In fact they were just plain absent and hostile in their refusal to embrace Measure P. If they wanted our trust, they should have been promoting and standing behind us on Measure P.

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