The Citizens Law Enforcement Review Board will be allowed to visit death scenes of inmates at the hands of county sheriffs that occurred in county jails under a new policy with the San Diego County Sheriffs Department.
The board introduced this policy 11 days after Sherriff Bill Gore retired and took place immediately. A representative of the Citizens Law Enforcement Review Board (CLERB) will undergo a preliminary briefing at the death scene guided by a Sheriff’s liaison.
As a volunteer panel created by public vote, the CLERB provides oversight to the Sheriffs and Probation departments. An audit report on the Sheriff's department found that the CLERB was not always properly investigated deaths, or provided efficient and independent oversight.
The audit found 185 deaths in the Sheriff’s Department's custody over 15 years. Under this new agreement, representatives will not be able to interview victims, witnesses, or suspects under the new agreement.
Executive officer of CLERB Paul Parker requested permission in October from the Sheriff’s Department to attend death-scene investigations. The board had to rely on information provided by the Sherriff’s Department’s homicide team before this policy.
As a former police officer and career medical examiner, Parker will be the only member of CLERB's professional staff to respond to a death scene.
Parker asked the Sheriff's Department was to cease routine requests of sealing autopsy reports that inhibit details of the death to be publicly known for months. Additionally, he requested for the county Board of Supervisors to expand CLERB’s authority to include oversight of jail medical staff.
Parker also asked the county Board of Supervisors to expand CLERB’s authority to include oversight of jail medical staff since it is currently limited to deputies and probation officers.