Council President Sean Elo-Rivera (center), Independent Budget Analyst Charles Modica (left), and Assistant City Clerk Diana Fuentes (right) during a meeting on Jan. 10, 2023.
Council President Sean Elo-Rivera (center), Independent Budget Analyst Charles Modica (left), and Assistant City Clerk Diana Fuentes (right) during a meeting on Jan. 10, 2023. / Photo by Ariana Drehsler

It took nearly four hours and multiple rounds of balloting, but the San Diego City Council Monday appointed 25 people to the Commission on Police Practices, the city’s new police oversight entity.

As Voice reported on May 11, the commission was down to only eight active members — leaving more than two-thirds of its seats vacant —  resulting in its functions grinding to a halt.

Normal attrition and exhaustion caused the commission’s membership, who are all citizen volunteers, to dwindle over the last two years as the Council struggled to get Measure B off the ground. The 2020 ballot measure replaced the city’s Citizens Review Board on Police Practices with the Commission on Police Practices and gave it greater authority and independence, including the ability to investigate, rather than simply review, serious incidents of potential police misconduct.

There were 45 applicants for the 25 commission seats and each was allowed to give a two minute presentation detailing their qualifications. City Council members also reviewed applications beforehand.

According to rules governing the new commission, it must include one person from each of the nine City Council districts, two youth members (ages 18 to 24), five members from low- to moderate-income census tracks and nine “at large” members.

Appointed members included Brandon Hilpert and Doug Case, both of whom have chaired of the commission, LGBTQ activist Nicole Murray Ramirez, homeless advocate James Justus, community organizer Laila Aziz, and Dwayne Harvey, whose son, Aaron, split a $1.5 million settlement against the city of San Diego for wrongful arrest.

City Council President Sean Elo-Rivera said he didn’t feel comfortable estimating when the full commission might be up and running. Commissioners will still need to undergo background checks and training.

Even then, the commission could be a ways from operating as Measure B intended. The commission still needs to draft its own operating procedures, which will need City Council approval.

“We’re acting with urgency but with attention to detail to make sure this is done right,” Elo-Rivera said.

Kelly Davis

Kelly Davis is a freelance journalist focusing on criminal justice and social issues. Follow her on Twitter @kellylynndavis...

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1 Comment

  1. The current all nine-member Council is logically unsustainable in a demographically diverse city as San Diego and therein lays the irony. Too add more insult to the citizens of this great city, both the mayor and city attorney are Democrats as are the thousands of yes men and yes women in city government. Dan Smiechowski for Mayor. Former Dem — quit after 50 years too much hype/corruption and lies! 858 405 5118

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