Sonoma County, and two labor groups representing county law enforcement employees, have finalized an agreement that will strengthen law enforcement oversight in the county.
Based on the agreement, the Sonoma County Independent Office of Law Enforcement Review and Outreach (“IOLERO”) no longer has to wait until the sheriff’s office has concluded its investigation of a deputy-involved death, in order to begin its own inquiry.
The agreement between IOLERO, the Sonoma County Deputy Sheriffs’ Association and Sonoma County Law Enforcement Association, permits IOLERO to conduct investigations concurrently with the sheriff’s office. Previously, the agency was required to delay the start of an investigation until the sheriff’s office completed its own investigation.
“Investigating critical incidents concurrently with the sheriff’s office will ensure that IOLERO investigations are truly independent,” said John Alden, director of IOLERO. “These types of independent investigations are what the community is seeking. We appreciate the cooperation of our partners in labor.”
SCLEA President Damian Evans said, “This agreement strikes the right balance between increased transparency, cooperation with all stakeholders and the due process rights of sheriff’s office employees.”
DSA President Cody Ebert said: “We are always pleased to partner with the county to strengthen the community’s trust in law enforcement. Together, we achieved stronger oversight while ensuring our members are treated fairly.”
IOLERO and sheriff’s office investigations will occur simultaneously in incidents resulting in the death of a person in custody of sheriff’s office personnel, or in the death of an individual due to the actions of sheriff’s office personnel. IOLERO’s independent investigation will not interfere with the sheriff’s office investigation or any criminal investigation into the matter. The release of the IOLERO and sheriff’s office investigation reports will be coordinated between the agencies.