An independent county board can investigate complaints against law enforcement officers, providing a peak into police conduct that is often shielded from public oversight.
Right now, that Citizens’ Law Enforcement Review Board has 46 open cases involving deaths that may be the result of law enforcement misconduct, according to a new story by Kelly Davis. That’s the most open cases in the board’s history and it includes a case that’s more than 5 years old.
The problem isn’t that more suspicious deaths are happening — “the problem appears to be on CLERB’s end – it’s completing far fewer death investigations, even though the number of cases coming over the last several years has stayed relatively consistent.”
“It is a priority to us to get them completed and we will continue to bring down the number of unresolved cases,” board Chairwoman Sandra Arkin said.
The bottleneck isn’t just impacting death investigations.
The board has also had to dismiss 20 misconduct allegations last year because they hadn’t been investigated within one year, a rule that applies to cases other than death investigations.
• NBC 7 reports that San Diego Police Chief Shelley Zimmerman advised officers to regularly delete their text messages, possibly in violation of the California Public Records Act.
Border on Edge
“The times are truly unprecedented, and the full scope of the U.S. government’s actions are still unknown,” writes Brooke Binkowski, who covers the border for us. She lays out what we know and what we don’t about what the Trump administration will mean for our region.
• Rep. Duncan Hunter signed onto a joint statement saying that Iraqis who helped the U.S. military should be exempt from President Donald Trump’s immigration ban.
While California’s history is checkered with mega-droughts and mega-floods, the Associated Press notes that climate change will raise ocean levels and “make worse the flooding and erosion from big storms like this month’s in California.”
Our own reporting suggests a varying degree of preparation under way in San Diego for rising sea levels. In Imperial Beach, the mayor is ringing alarm bells early and often. In Coronado, last summer we found a notable lack of preparation by the city, which is almost surrounded by water. After that story ran, city officials began discussing the problem in some depth, though the then-mayor said it was not his intent to grab the bull by the horns to deal with what could eventually be an existential threat to his island community.
In Other News
• Traffic tickets are a real pain, particularly for people who don’t have much money. Such tickets are one thing many people get and most people can’t get out of — but a few hundred dollars for some people is inconvenient, while for others it is a devastating financial setback. KPBS looks at various aspects of traffic tickets and how traffic court officials lack empathy.
• The City Council wants Mayor Kevin Faulconer to conduct a national search for police chief when the current chief, Shelley Zimmerman, is forced to retire in spring 2018. That search would be instead of promoting someone from within the department, according to the Union-Tribune. Zimmerman and the mayor go way back and, last we checked, jogged together about once a week.
• The Southern Poverty Law Center, a nonprofit that fights hate crime, says there are 11 hate groups in San Diego County. (NBC San Diego)
• Belmont Park’s historic Plunge swimming pool is set to reopen after being closed for three years. But the historic downtown Anthony’s Fish Grotto is set to close for good tonight. (Union-Tribune, CBS 8)
• If you’re still not sure what the gas protests in Mexico are about, the Union-Tribune takes another crack at explaining them.