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San Diego Measure B: Commission on police practices

Measure B is on the ballot to allow a change in the San Diego city charter to create an independent police oversight board.

SAN DIEGO — Measure B is asking voters in the City of San Diego to amend the city’s charter to dissolve the current Community Review Board (CRB) on Police Practices and replace it with a Commission on Police Practices.

The current CRB has to rely on outside investigations for information and gets its legal counsel from the city attorney, who represents the police department in lawsuits. 

Measure B’s supporters say that leads to conflict-of-interest issues and a lack of trust in the process.

All members of the commission would be independent of the city police department and its legal counsel would be independent of the city attorney. Furthermore, the new commission would have the power to subpoena their own witness testimony and documents.

They would be required to investigate all officer-related shootings and deaths in police custody. They may also investigate allegations of inappropriate sexual conduct, physical assault, and domestic violence.

The commission would be able to recommend discipline, but the final decision will be up to the police chief. The commission’s findings and results would be made public as the law allows.

You can read more about Measure B on the SDVote.com website.

Argument in favor of Measure B

Supporters of Measure B say the problem with the current system is that it appears the police are policing themselves, and that creates a lack of trust between officers and the community. 

Supporters say Measure B provides a level of independence that will build trust between the public and the police department. 

“We want our police department to have a really close relationship and an appropriate relationship with the community,” said Andrea St. Julian, co-chair of San Diegans for Justice. “And if you don't have trust, you're not going to have a good relationship and then you're not going to have really effective policing.”

St. Julian notes that Measure B has bipartisan support, including the mayor and the entire city council.

Argument against Measure B

There is no formal argument against Measure B, but St. Julian does not think that means its passage is guaranteed. 

“I think the biggest misconception about Measure B is that it is somehow anti-police,” she said. “That it is in some way meant to hurt police, and nothing could be further from the truth.”

The police officer's union didn't take a position, stating "As an association, we have a neutral stance on Measure B, and we trust the voters to decide on the type of oversight that they believe is necessary. SDPOA will continue to support oversight in whatever form the community as a whole demands."

What does a YES vote on Measure B mean?

A yes vote would amend the city’s charter to dissolve the current Community Review Board on Police Practices and replace it with a Commission on Police Practices. 

What does a NO vote on Measure B mean?

A no vote keeps the current structure in place.