For Immediate Release
County of Sonoma, labor groups reach agreement on law enforcement oversight measures
SANTA ROSA, CA | June 23, 2022
The County of Sonoma and two labor groups representing county law enforcement employees, the Sonoma County Deputy Sheriffs’ Association (DSA) and Sonoma County Law Enforcement Association (SCLEA), announced the finalization of an agreement Thursday to strengthen law enforcement oversight in the county.
The agreement, which expands the authority of the county’s Independent Office of Law Enforcement Review and Outreach (IOLERO), is the result of more than a year of negotiations between the county and the associations.
The negotiations commenced after Sonoma County voters overwhelmingly adopted Measure P in November 2020, expanding IOLERO’s powers while signaling a strong desire for greater law enforcement oversight. Prior to implementation, however, the state’s Public Employment Relations Board (PERB) voided several provisions of Measure P in June 2021 following the associations’ complaint that the county violated their members’ collective bargaining rights by failing to “meet and confer” with the two unions about the changes, pursuant to state labor law. After PERB’s order, 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.
The agreement meets all of these goals. IOLERO now has the authority to conduct independent investigations of serious instances of alleged misconduct, with greater access to and cooperation with Sheriff’s Office internal investigations. A full copy of the agreement is set forth on the county’s website at https://sonomacounty.ca.gov/letters-of-agreement-iolero-oversight.
Supervisor James Gore, chair of the Board of Supervisors, said: “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.”
Cody Ebert, president of the Sonoma County Deputy Sheriffs’ Association, said: “As law enforcement professionals, the DSA’s members understand that effective law enforcement depends on the community’s trust. The DSA is proud to have partnered with the county and SCLEA to make sure new law enforcement oversight measures are both effective at building and maintaining the community’s trust, and fair to the deputies putting their lives on the line for the public’s safety.”
Damian Evans, president of Sonoma County Law Enforcement Association, said: “SCLEA supports law enforcement oversight and believes the last year of bargaining demonstrates that when labor and management work together the best outcome is reached for the community we serve, our members and their families. The agreement strikes the right balance between increased transparency and oversight and fair and consistent investigatory procedures for the affected Correctional Deputies, Sergeants and Dispatchers. We are encouraged that the county, IOLERO, SCLEA and the DSA can move forward together to better serve the citizens of Sonoma County.”
The Board of Supervisors established the Independent Office of Law Enforcement Review and Outreach in 2015 to strengthen the relationship between the Sheriff’s Office and the community it serves. The agency reviews complaints against the Sheriff’s Office, makes policy recommendations and conducts community outreach.
The Sonoma County Law Enforcement Association represents approximately 529 county employees in corrections, criminal investigations, probation services, juvenile justice, parks and fire services. The Deputy Sheriffs’ Association represents approximately 229 deputies and sergeants in the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office.