Proposed Ordinance

Fixin’ SMC consulted with numerous other counties that have implemented oversight of the Sheriff’s Office, as well as experts from organizations like the National Association for Civilian Oversight of Law Enforcement (NACOLE) and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). Based on this research, we developed a draft ordinance that we asked the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors to adopt, as well as a one-page description of an effective oversight model.  The County did not adopt our proposed ordinance, leaving out duties and authority for the new Commission, giving the Sheriff one voting member and multiple non-voting liaisons, and excluding a regular ongoing Inspector General function.

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Why oversight?
One-page model description
Our proposed ordinance

The Fixin’ proposed ordinance summary

The text below provides specifics from our proposed ordinance to establish a Civilian Oversight Board (COB) and Office of the Inspector General (OIG). See our full proposal here.

California Government Code Section 25303 authorizes boards of supervisors to establish a civilian oversight board and inspector general office, both with the power to issue subpoenas.

Sheriff’s Civilian Oversight Board


The COB will be established by the Board of Supervisors. The COB is not associated with, or part of, the Sheriff’s Office.


The Board of Supervisors will appoint the members and designate the Chair of the COB. Members will be San Mateo County residents, and represent the demographics and diversity of perspectives of the county. COB members will not be current members of law enforcement.

COB Powers and Duties

The COB will conduct community outreach and receive community input; have authority to independently investigate issues, including having subpoena power; and prepare and submit public reports and hold public meetings.

Office of Inspector General


The Board of Supervisors will establish an OIG, and appoint an Inspector General.

OIG Powers and Duties

The OIG will receive and review complaints and investigate issues, including, but not limited to use of force, deaths in custody, constitutional and civil rights violations, and other concerns.

The OIG will have subpoena power and the authority to independently investigate issues. The OIG will refer evidence of alleged criminal misconduct to the District Attorney.

The OIG will monitor the Sheriff’s Office’s operations, including jail services, and advise the Board and the public if Sheriff’s Office investigations appear incomplete, biased or otherwise deficient. The OIG will also analyze racial profiling data and trends, and make recommendations regarding the Sheriff’s Office’s policies and practices.

Nothing above is intended to or shall be interpreted to interfere with or obstruct the independent duties of the Sheriff’s Office.


The annual budget of the COB and OIG will be at least 1% of the total annual budget of the Sheriff’s Office. This money will not be taken from the Sheriff’s Office budget.