Improving Transparency and Accountability in Law Enforcement

1MZ_5084Los Angeles County’s law enforcement watchdog now has unprecedented access to Sheriff’s Department (LASD) records about alleged misconduct by deputies and other personnel, including those involving excessive use of force.

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Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas

Acting on a motion by Supervisors Mark Ridley-Thomas and Sheila Kuehl, the Board of Supervisors unanimously authorized Inspector General Max Huntsman to sign a memorandum of agreement with Sheriff Jim McDonnell intended to increase transparency and accountability within the LASD.

“We seek to increase the level of trust and respect between the police and our community members, while simultaneously valuing and caring for the safety of our deputies,” Supervisor Ridley-Thomas said.

“This truly is a historic moment,” Sheriff McDonnell told the Board. “With your partnership and leadership, the LASD will be leading the nation in agreeing to a process that furthers transparency and that will bring enhanced accountability at a time when too many law enforcement and community relationships are going through a stressful period.”

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Inspector General Max Huntsman

Under the agreement, the Inspector General “can monitor in-progress investigations involving potential bias, deputy force, or misconduct by LASD personnel, including, but not limited to complaint inquiries, deputy-involved shootings, claims review and administrative investigations.”

The agreement adds, however, that the Inspector General “will not interfere with the Sheriff’s investigative authority or obstruct any investigation.” Also, the Inspector General is legally barred from sharing confidential and privileged information obtained from the LASD.

“We are creating something that I hope will benefit the public for many years to come,” Inspector General Huntsman said. “I believe we are also creating something that will be flexible enough that we will be able to improve it over the years.”