Sheriffs hold massive power in California counties over jails, law enforcement, emergency services, court-ordered evictions, and more. They are elected officials who must be accountable to the public that they serve.
In the news
This page contains news article for those interested in all facets of law enforcement oversight and reform. These articles span all states and cover police departments as well as Sheriff's departments. We're providing this information for those who wish to better understand why oversight is needed, the challenges it faces, and where and how it has improved the communities that have adopted it. Articles will open in a new tab.
Following hours of expert, staff and public input on Sheriff’s Office oversight, San Mateo County supervisors backed a model that creates a civilian advisory body, reinstates a public safety and social justice subcommittee, and contracts an inspector general on an as-needed basis.
The Alameda County Board of Supervisors took a step that many police accountability advocates have for years clamored for: civilian oversight of the sheriff’s department. The Board voted to create a seven-member Oversight Board and an Office of the Inspector General on Tuesday that was recommended in a report authored by former Alameda County Chief Probation Officer Wendy Still.
Michael Acosta, who lost his eye after being shot with a hard projectile by San Jose police during protests following the 2020 killing of George Floyd, is set to receive millions in a city settlement. The $3 million payout is part of a $3.35 million total settlement the city is weighing for Acosta and a group of people who also sued the city over violent police tactics and weapons used at the local protests.
Fixin’ San Mateo County says that the grant funding will help it with both its operating costs and community outreach efforts. “We are grateful for the Grove Action Fund’s commitment to independent oversight of the Sheriff’s Office,” said FxSMC Board Chair Jim Lawrence.
A police oversight committee in Dallas is investigating four police officers after video shows them laughing at a disabled veteran that urinated on himself. The committee watched police body cam footage on August 8 that took place after two off-duty police officers at a Dallas restaurant denied him use of the bathrooms.
The newly formed “California Coalition for Sheriff’s Oversight” brings together counties actively working on or already have oversight systems, including Alameda, Marin, Monterey, San Mateo and Santa Cruz. A notable voice in this movement is Fixin’ San Mateo County (FxSMC), a local entity advocating for civilian oversight to introduce a balanced approach to county law enforcement.
Fixin’ San Mateo County (FxSMC) is pleased to announce that the ACLU of Northern California (ACLU-NorCal) has endorsed FxSMC, and is partnering with them to support efforts to establish independent civilian oversight of the Sheriff’s Office.
The effort to launch an independent oversight group of the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office has received a new supporter. The American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California has endorsed the effort by Fixin’ San Mateo County to establish such a group.
By the reverends Penny Nixon, Marlyn Bussey and Tovis Page
Oversight of the Sheriff’s Office through a community board shows a commitment to lifting up the leadership of those most affected by systemic racism and building unity across divisions. Creating oversight is an opportunity to dismantle unjust criminalization systems that target people of color and exploit poor communities to transform those systems into ones that value all humanity. Empowering people to participate in and engage with local systems and structures in our community can lead to meaningful and long-lasting change.