I appreciate the attention the Bohemian is giving to what looks like a dedicated effort to eviscerate our hard-won Independent Office of Law Enforcement Review and Outreach and its Community Advisory Council. Both were established in 2016 after the tragic shooting death of 13-year-old Andy Lopez by Deputy Erick Gelhaus. ("IOLERO Review," 9/18]
Recent maneuvers by the current director, Karlene Navarro, strike a note of alarm in the hearts of people who fought hard for the creation of this office and who have closely followed its activities since inception.
Your piece states correctly that the Sheriff's Office claimed that the original Director, Jerry Threet, was "biased against police and policing." What wasn't mentioned, however, is that Sheriff Rob Giordano said nothing of the sort when Threet delivered his first Annual Report to the Board of Supervisors. In fact, he publicly supported Threet's work at that hearing. But when the second year of audits revealed many more deficiencies in the Sheriff's investigations of employee misconduct, Giordano did an about-face and launched a full frontal attack against Threet.
It is ironic that Threet carried out his duties with integrity and neutrality, and now only time will tell how his successor stacks up on the neutrality scale. Our current Sheriff, Mark Essick, vigorously supported IOLERO and CAC during his election campaign, but since his election he now says that he wants to ditch both and favors replacing them with one-off contract audits. He enthusiastically supported Navarro's appointment.
Perhaps some people are banking on the possibility that the community has forgotten all about Andy Lopez. They are dead wrong.
Founding member, Police Brutality Coalition
My questions about Karlene Navarro's proposed ordinance to change the mission of her office (IOLERO and CAC) were not as represented in "IOLERO Review." While I am concerned about how IOLERO's mission will continue under Navarro, my principal concern is why she has changed it with so little experience on the job. I believe that's the crux of the story.
What I asked was, "Why would Essick, who ran his campaign for Sheriff on his support for IOLERO and community involvement, want to see a change of 'perspective'? And why would Navarro, with no involvement in the issues which brought us to this moment and with only six months on the job, ignore the duties of her job and work so hard to reverse the policies of the Board-created task force? We and the Supervisors should be seeking the answers to those questions."
My concern is with power—who wields it, what they do with it, and why and whether it benefits the public or the powerful (in this case, the Sheriff's Office).
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