For Immediate Release
County Independent Office of Law Enforcement Review and Outreach, Sheriff and Unions clarify investigative powers
SANTA ROSA, CA | May 24, 2023
The County of Sonoma and two labor groups representing county law enforcement employees today announced the finalization of an agreement to strengthen law enforcement oversight in the county. The County and the Associations came together in a mutual effort to implement the voters’ will, ensure that IOLERO’s expanded authority represented smart and effective law enforcement oversight, and treat the associations’ members fairly. Based on the agreement, the Sonoma County Independent Office of Law Enforcement Review and Outreach now will conduct, concurrently with the Sheriff’s Office, independent investigations of deputy-involved incidents that result in death.
The agreement between IOLERO and the Sonoma County Deputy Sheriffs’ Association and Sonoma County Law Enforcement Association permits IOLERO to conduct investigations concurrently with the Sheriff’s Office. Previously, the agency was required to delay the start of an investigation until the Sheriff’s Office completed its own investigation.
“Investigating critical incidents concurrently with the Sheriff’s Office will ensure that IOLERO investigations are truly independent,” said John Alden, director of IOLERO. “These types of independent investigations are what the community is seeking. We appreciate the cooperation of our partners in labor.”
SCLEA President Damian Evans said: “This agreement strikes the right balance between increased transparency, cooperation with all stakeholders and the due process rights of Sheriff’s Office employees.”
DSA President Cody Ebert said: “We are always pleased to partner with the County to strengthen the community’s trust in law enforcement. Together, we achieved stronger oversight while ensuring our members are treated fairly.”
IOLERO and Sheriff’s Office investigations will occur simultaneously in incidents resulting in the death of a person in custody of Sheriff’s Office personnel or in the death of an individual due to the actions of Sheriff’s Office personnel. IOLERO’s independent investigation will not interfere with the Sheriff’s Office investigation or any criminal investigation into the matter. The release of the IOLERO and Sheriff’s Office investigation reports will be coordinated between the agencies.
The county is pleased that this agreement affirms the will of the voters regarding IOLERO’s expanded powers and duties while also recognizing the associations’ legitimate interests and statutory rights in negotiating over those powers and duties. The parties’ collaborative efforts produced a comprehensive, effective and responsible agreement governing the implementation of Measure P.