Skip to Content
Board of Supervisors Department

For Immediate Release

Sonoma County Board of Supervisors Receives Final Report  From the Community and Local Law Enforcement Task Force

Civilian oversight, and enhanced community policing and engagement among the twenty-one recommendations

Santa Rosa,CA | May 12, 2015

SANTA ROSA, Calif. - For Immediate Release - On May 12, 2015, the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors received the final report of the Community and Local Law Enforcement Task Force. The Report includes twenty-one recommendations formulated by three Task Force Subcommittees: Law Enforcement Accountability, Community Policing, and Community Engagement and Healing. The recommendations include a model for an independent citizen review body, ways to enhance community policing, and suggestions on how to improve the relationship between the community and local law enforcement.

"The Community and Local Law Enforcement Task Force has been working diligently over the past year and a half to develop thoughtful and comprehensive recommendations," said Sonoma County Board of Supervisors Chair Susan Gorin. "I want to thank the Task Force on behalf of the Board of Supervisors for their dedicated service, and the seriousness with which they undertook their charge."

The Task Force was established on December 3, 2013, following the Andy Lopez tragedy, and was given the following four charges:   

  1. Review options for and ultimately recommend a model for an independent citizen review body;
  2. Review and recommend options for community policing to be considered with the FY 14/15 Budget process;
  3. Review and recommend whether the Office of Coroner should be separately elected from the Office of Sheriff; and
  4. Bring to the Board of Supervisors any additional feedback from the community on these issues that merit County attention and discuss staff generated efforts on these issues.

"I am extremely proud of the work that the Task Force has accomplished," commented Task Force Chair Caroline Bañuelos. "There is still a long way to go, and this report is a an important step toward creating a safer, more equitable community for us all. I want to thank the Board for entrusting the Task Force with such critical issues, and thank the community for their contributions throughout this process."

The Law Enforcement Accountability Subcommittee (LEA) reviewed the questions of the feasibility of the Civil Grand Jury as an oversight body, whether the Office of the Sheriff and Coroner should be separated, and law enforcement accountability/oversight models.  The LEA Subcommittee recommended or concluded the following:
LEA - 1) An independent office of civilian oversight based on an independent auditor model should be established.
LEA - 2) Civil Grand Jury is not feasible as oversight body; and
LEA - 3) Offices of Sheriff and Coroner should be separated; 

The Community Policing Subcommittee (CP) reviewed and recommended models of community policing and developed seven individual recommendations:

CP - 1)  Improved critical incident response;
CP - 2)  Enhanced law enforcement programs and activities;
CP - 3)  Improved community outreach and engagement;
CP - 5)  Development of a Moorland neighborhood pilot project;
CP - 6)  Revise use of force policies and practices;
CP - 7)  Improve hiring and training processes and practices; and
CP - 8)  Revise  body worn camera policy.

The Community Engagement and Healing Subcommittee (CEH) responded to the very broad question of programs and activities to heal the community, embraced the value of upstream investments, focusing on programs for youth to improve opportunities and on programs of meaningful community engagement believed to reestablish trust and facilitate community healing, and developed  the  following recommendations:

CEH - 1)  Expand counseling and mental health services;
CEH - 2)  Continue County-wide community engagement forums;
CEH - 3)  Implement a pilot mural program in Roseland;
CEH - 4)  Investigate Sonoma County social action music center;
CEH - 5)  Support and expand Student Congress;
CEH - 6)  Support the expansion of School Resource Officers;
CEH - 7)  Support the expansion of Community Services Officers;
CEH - 8)  Support implementation of restorative justice models;
CEH - 9)  Invest in infrastructure, public services and cultural awareness; and
CEH -10)  Expand education on law enforcement practices and policies.

The complete Final Report containing the details of each of the recommendations is available at

The Board of Supervisors directed staff to return on June 16 th with preliminary implementation strategies, timelines, and budget estimates for the recommendations contained within the Report. 


Contact Information

Public Information Office, County Administrator's Office
County of Sonoma
(707) 565-3040