Sheriff Accountability

Sheriff Accountability

We at the Los Angeles County Commission on Human Relations offer our perspective on the current state of sheriff accountability in our County. As a commission charged with advancing positive human relations countywide, we aim to address and advocate for legislation and policies at all levels – federal, state and local – that impact police-community relations in Los Angeles County.

Currently, we are at a key historical juncture: this is the third, and potentially decisive, phase of civilian oversight of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department since 1993. This is a history which we uphold for its commitments to equitable policing and accountability to the public safety of the people of this County, values which are at the core of our Commission. Michael J. Gennaco contemplated about the third stage of civilian oversight back in 2014, during his final days at the Office of Independent Review for Los Angeles County:

“While oversight is a critical component of progressive policing, the most robust oversight mechanism alone is not sufficient to ensure that large law enforcement agencies perform in accord with modern day expectations. Ultimately the leadership of the organization must ensure that the members of its organization are performing consistently with their oath of office and that those whom he or she delegates with authority similarly imbue their organization with those values. When there is significant messaging and influence that run counter to values-based policing, the most robust oversight will not be able to entirely stem that deleterious slide.”

Following is an overview of the Commission’s action to support this progress by recommending the placement of a County charter amendment on sheriff accountability, which we see as inextricably tied to our vision of respect for human rights and the laws we need to curb the abuse of power by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. The Board of Supervisors did so, titled Measure A, which is being voted on in Los Angeles County in the November 2022 ballot.

Below, you will find

  • the Commission’s statement to the Board of Supervisors recommending the placement of Measure A on the November ballot,
  • video testimony regarding the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department from our countywide hearings on police-community relations, and
  • additional relevant reference material.

Commission Statement to the Board of Supervisors recommending placement of Measure A on the November ballot

Board of Supervisors Motion

District 1 | East Los Angeles, Cal State Los Angeles | November 19, 2016

Robert C. testified about his experience being stopped by a Sheriff’s Deputy at gunpoint while walking home after taking his A.P. U.S. History exam.

District 2 | Watts, Watts Labor Community Action Committee | February 25, 2017

Mary W. testified about the circumstances of her son’s alleged suicide while in the custody of the LA County Sheriff’s Department.

District 4 | Long Beach, Jordan High School | December 3, 2016

Yolanda L. testified about the frequent harassment she and other Spanish-speaking parents contend with at the hands of Compton Sheriff School Resource Officers.

District 5 | Lancaster, Antelope Valley Partners for Health | September 10, 2016

Jose B., a person with a disability, testified about the racialized statements and inappropriate force used by a Palmdale Sheriff Deputy when he was involved in an altercation.

LGBTQ+ & WOC | Downtown Los Angeles, Los Angeles Trade Technical College | September 23, 2017

Alejandra M. testified about the profiling and harassment she and her friends who identify as LGBTQ+ experience from Metro Sheriff Deputies when they ride public transportation.

For more information on sheriff accountability, read the report published by Catalyst California (formerly Advancement Project California).


For another example of our advocacy efforts to advance equitable policies in law enforcement, review our rulemaking comments on the Racial Identity and Profiling Act. 


For more information on the Commission’s Policing & Human Relations Initiative, explore our countywide community hearings and seminal report on police-community relations.