When you look at the problems in San Bernardino County Government today (Paul Biane , Rex Gutierrez, Bill Postmus, Gary Penrod, Floyd Tidwell and more), you can see how an Office of Independent Review (“OIR”) would be a welcomed force for the citizens of our county.
I have copied and pasted below the mission of the Los Angeles Office of Independant Review. This office could be expanded for all offices within our county government.
OIR is a civilian oversight group that was created by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors and began its work in 2001. The mission of OIR is to monitor the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department (“LASD”) and provide legal advice to ensure that allegations of officer misconduct involving LASD are investigated in thorough, fair, and effective ways.
Based on an idea that came largely from Sheriff Lee Baca himself, OIR consists of six attorneys with backgrounds in criminal law and civil rights issues. Chief Attorney Michael Gennaco spent several years with the United States Department of Justice, and more recently was in charge of the civil rights section of the United States Attorney’s Office in Los Angeles. Mr. Gennaco and the other attorneys of OIR work with LASD on a daily basis, but not for LASD. Instead, OIR is specifically designed to be an independent entity. OIR has the freedom to arrive at its own conclusions and, if necessary, to challenge the department with regard to specific practices or incidents.
LASD and the Board of Supervisors have taken steps to make sure that OIR is able to make a meaningful contribution to the integrity and efficiency of misconduct investigations. OIR has full access to relevant documents, meetings, and personnel within LASD. It has a close working relationship with LASD’s Internal Affairs Bureau and Internal Criminal Investigations Bureau and is able to participate in ongoing investigations as needed in order to promote their effectiveness. OIR also looks at broader LASD policies and practices and makes recommendations where appropriate to enhance both officer performance and the safeguarding of individual rights.
As it carries out its responsibilities, OIR maintains contacts with state and federal prosecutors, as well as civil rights groups and community organizations. OIR also welcomes the information, insight, or concerns that any individual would like to share.
Members of the Office of Independent Review:
Michael Gennaco, Chief Attorney (323) 890-5360
Ben Jones, Deputy Chief (323) 890-5362
Rob Miller, Deputy Chief (323) 890-5335
Ilana Rosenzweig, Atttorney (323) 890-5405
Stephen Connolly, Attorney (323) 890-5464
Julie Ruhlin, Attorney (323) 890-5406
San Bernardino County needs an OIR!