1000 calls in 60 days Archives - Dignity and Power Now

Town Hall Roll Call!

When the 50+ community members attending the Compton public forum on civilian oversight were asked if they supported a commission with subpoena power, almost everyone in the room raised their hands. Subpoena power is imperative to a thorough and complete investigation into complaints against the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. It is a tool capable of holding deputies and staff accountable for their actions. Even without issuing a subpoena just having the power to can compel the department to turn over records during an investigation.

Photos by Walt Mancini / Pasadena Star-News

Photos by Walt Mancini / Pasadena Star-News

A similar showing of hands were raised when Vincent Harris – one of the seven working group members crafting a proposal for the commission roles, responsibilities, and powers – asked who believed the commissioners should be selected by the community. These sentiments marked the first of nine public forums taking place throughout LA County. These forums are designed to give the community an opportunity to share their views and concerns, so come share them!

All take place from 6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.

Monday April 27
700 Exposition Park Drive Los Angeles, 90037

Tuesday April 28
4837 East 3rd Street Los Angeles, 90022

Thursday April 30
625 North San Vincent Blvd. West Hollywood, 90046

Be sure to watch these videos on our five nonnegotiables and let the working group members know you support an oversight commission with teeth!

What’s the Deal with Subpoena Power?

What is subpoena power?

A subpoena is a request under penalty. There are two types of subpoenas. The first requires you to testify in front of a court and the second requires you to produce documents, materials, or other evidence. Without subpoena power the civilian oversight commission could ask the LASD for documents and they could lawfully say “no.” With subpoena power the civilian oversight commission could subpoena documents from the LASD and they would have to comply or face a criminal penalty. Subpoenas are the difference between asking and telling. Subpoena power is power.

Why does the civilian oversight commission need subpoena power?

The LASD has a long history of secrecy, misclassification, and “losing” reports. For example, LASD keeps 30% of the L.A. County homicide and death cases on security holds. That is a significant amount of information withheld from the public! The current Inspector General whose job it is to audit and investigate the department’s handling of complaints has been very public with his inability to access reports. The things that the LASD wants to keep hidden are precisely the things that the civilian oversight commission needs to find out. Subpoena power is necessary for transparency and accountability.

With subpoena power can the commission discipline deputies?

To be clear, subpoena power does not give the commission the power to discipline anyone. State law prevents disciplining deputies via a commission. However with subpoena power the civilian oversight commission can compile data, create legitimate reports, and offer recommendations backed by evidence that will incite a high level of consideration from the board of supervisors and sheriff – who can discipline deputies. Subpoena power is the difference between making a blind recommendation and a credible argument.

So how can the civilian oversight commission get subpoena power?

The L.A. County Board of Supervisors are in the position to do the necessary things to ensure the commission has the opportunity to have subpoena power. They have the power to put a charter amendment on the ballot that the county would then vote on.

If you want the civilian oversight commission to have the ability to make influential arguments based on evidence then tell your working group representative and county district supervisor to put a charter amendment on the ballot so that we the people can vote for subpoena power.

PROGRESS! Community Members In the Running for LASD Oversight!

The hot topic right now among the working group deciding the civilian oversight commission’s size, scope, and responsibilities is COMPOSITION. How many people will serve on the commission and who will they be?

Three years ago when the Coalition to End Sheriff Violence started the conversation of civilian oversight we emphasized two things: 1) That the commission be made of community members who have been impacted by sheriff violence and 2) that there be no law enforcement serving on the commission. Ever since the Board of Supervisors approved the creation of a commission last December, we have been attending working group meetings and making phone calls to demand a commission with 9 members, 4 community appointed, and without law enforcement.

Yesterday our demand was realized when the working group adopted our composition proposal! It will be included as the seventh proposal presented to the supervisors for consideration in the upcoming months. Seven is our lucky number! 

Read the proposal here, endorsed by hardworking and ever-present coalition members from the Youth Justice Coalition, Justice Not Jails, and Californians United for a Responsible Budget.

This is a huge step forward in the fight for effective oversight, but we need to keep our voices up to ensure that the community option is the only option! CALL your working group member, commend them for including our composition proposal, and tell them that it is the only option that you support because it’s the only option that ensures EFFECTIVE civilian oversight! 

Because law enforcement already has tremendous amounts of representation.
Because law enforcement on the oversight commission is a conflict of interest.
Because this is a CIVILIAN oversight commission!
Because the people affected by sheriff violence are the ones that actually want to stop it.

1000 Calls in 60 Days!

So just a few months ago, in December, the Board of Supervisors approved the creation of a civilian oversight commission! Yay! Woo!


We’re not done yet. They set up a working group of seven men (all LASD or law affiliated) to decide the size, scope, and powers of the board. In 60 days they will report back to the Board of Supervisors and the civilian oversight commission will be formed.


And one of the ways we’re going to do that is by making 1000 phone calls over the next 60 days!

CALL your working group member and and DEMAND a civilian oversight commission WITH POWER. That means:

  • A 9 member board with 4 appointed from the community
  • Subpoena power
  • Independent legal counsel
  • No law enforcement
  • And that the commission guide the work of the Inspector General

Everyone should call their district rep, the Inspector General (Max Huntsman), and the LASD rep (Neal Tyler.) What LA County District do you live in? Find out here. 

District 1: Call Hernan Vera, Max Huntsman, & Neal Tyler
District 2: Call Vincent Harris, Max Huntsman, & Neal Tyler
District 3: Call Dean Hansell, Max Huntsman, & Neal Tyler
District 4: Call Les Robbins, Max Huntsman, & Neal Tyler
District 5: Call Brent Braun, Max Huntsman, & Neal Tyler

Hernan Vera: (562) 882-6286
Vincent Harris:(213) 974-2222
Dean Hansell: (310) 785-4665
Les Robbins: (323) 213-4005
Brent Braun: (310) 871-6431
Max Huntsman: (213) 974-6100
Neal Tyler: (323) 526-5122


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