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Paper Tigers: Moorlach does Origami

You’ve got to wonder…

When exactly did the earth tilt suddenly on its axis to the point of being upside down?

I saw this headline on the Register’s Orange Punch blog on Saturday:

Key Lincoln Club members endorse civilian review board.

It used to be that conservatives, and Republicans in general, wouldn’t be caught dead supporting such a liberal notion of a civilian review board for any law enforcement agency.  Heck, these people in general still support the idea of secret prisons, torture, mass detainment of civilians because they have the audacity to protest (Republican National Convention 2006) the policies of George W. Bush, WPE (Worst President Ever).

I have always associated members of the Lincoln Club with a very pro law enforcement crowd.  For years I have perceived these folks as being more likely to believe that there really is a Santa Claus before they would believe that law enforcement officers should be held to the scrutiny of civilian review.

So after reading their letter to Supervisor Bates, I have to admit, I’m a bit confused.

We believe that all organizations – from businesses to government agencies – perform best when they are transparent and accountable. A Citizens Law Enforcement Review Board on the model proposed by Supervisor John Moorlach strikes, we think, the right balance. While the board would be empowered to investigate, its purview would be limited to deaths and serious injuries occurring in custody of deputies and specific complaints of abuse.

Then of course, the devil is in the details, right?

While it could issue findings and make recommendations, it would have no authority to discipline.

Now I get it.  They just want window dressing; they don’t actually want a review process with any teeth.

I recognize the public desire, and in some cases need, for civilian review of civilian law enforcement.  My roommate served on the San Diego review board for two years and from what he tells me, it works.  That is, it works within the parameters it is established. 

The civilian review board in San Diego is not independent of law enforcement.  Rather it works in partnership with internal affairs to review the results of their findings.  If the review board is not satisfied with the answers, they send the internal investigators back to get more answers until they are satisfied.

While such a process provides a check, it by no means provides what Moorlach would have you believe, independent investigation and review.  Moorlach’s plan is nothing more than window dressing to make it look like something is being done that is not.

The public, in this case, is far better off with the DA and the Grand Jury investigating incidents of alleged abuse as well as injuries and deaths in custody. They are equipped with the resources and experience to meet the need for review.  We don’t need band-aids to make us feel good.  We need real solutions and real leadership from Sheriff Corona.

The letter for the Lincoln Club members says; “Government works best when it is subject to checks and balances.”  This is true, but it sounds a bit insincere coming from people who clearly feel that no checks and balances on President George W. Bush and his administration are in order.

I don’t trust, Moorlach, I don’t trust his motives or his sincerity.  I see him simply using a tragedy to his political advantage.  The paper tiger of a civilian review board proposed by Supervisor Moorlach will not do anything but create one more level of administrative bureaucracy to make people think that something has been done. 

If we want reform or oversight we must require external review of all serious injuries and deaths of suspects in custody.  That review can be handled by the DA and the Grand Jury. 

I thought the Republicans were the party of less government and less bureaucracy. Why are they proposing more?