Measure P, passed by 65% of Sonoma County voters in November 2020, strengthened the authority of, and increased the funding for, the Independent Office of Law Enforcement and Outreach (IOLERO).
In July 2022, the Board of Supervisors approved two Letters of Agreement with the Sonoma County Deputy Sheriffs’ Associations. Those Letters of Agreement set out procedures for implementing Measure P. Unfortunately, three of the provisions in the Letters undermine the authority of IOLERO and need to be renegotiated.
CALL TO ACTION
Please write your Supervisor (James Gore, Chair & District 4; Susan Gore, District 1; David Rabbit, District 2; Chris Coursey, District 3; Lynda Hopkins, District 5) and ask them to renegotiate these three provisions. We’ve included a template letter below that you can feel free to use.
The Letters of Agreement between the County and the sheriff deputies’ associations undermine the letter and intent of Measure P and need to be renegotiated in the three ways:
- Where an investigation involves an incident resulting in the death of a person either in custody or by the actions of a Sheriff’s employee, Measure P authorizes IOLERO to conduct an independent investigation. Under the Letters of Agreement, IOLERO can only begin that investigation after the Sheriff sends its completed investigation to IOLERO for review. This provision should be renegotiated to allow IOLERO to begin its investigation immediately after the incident occurs.
- Measure P authorizes IOLERO to receive and investigate whistleblower complaints involving the sheriff-coroner. The Letters of Agreement only provide procedures for “intake” of whistleblower complaints, not the investigations of the complaints, and require IOLERO to “determine the necessary and appropriate referral of the complaint to the agency responsible for enforcement of any rules, regulations, policies, or laws which are the subject of the complaint.” The Letters of Agreement should be renegotiated to explicitly authorize IOLERO to conduct investigations of whistleblower complaints and explicitly prohibit IOLERO from making any referral to an enforcement agency without permission of the complainant.
- Measure P requires the Sheriff to cooperate fully with IOLERO in providing “direct, unfettered access to information of the Sheriff’s Office.” The Letters of Agreement only require the Sheriff to grant access once the Sheriff’s Department has completed its investigation. These provisions should be renegotiated to require the Sheriff to provide “direct, unfettered access to information” at any point the IOLERO director requests access.
Please re-open negotiations and ensure Measure P is implemented as the voters were promised.