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52 Residents Apply for Police Oversight Commission
By Jorge Casuso
April 12, 2021 -- A former City Councilmember, a retired Santa Monica police department veteran and four City commissioners are among the 52 applicants vying for nine seats on the new police oversight commission.
No applications were received by deadline for the two seats reserved for residents ages 18 to 22 on the 11-member Public Safety Reform and Oversight Commission, according to City staff.
As a result, the City Council on Tuesday can only make nine appointments to the Commission that will recommend reforms to police policies, practices and the handling of conduct complaints.
"There a shortage of women, a shortage of Latinos and a shortage of Asians, and a lot of white guys," said Mayor Sue Himmelrich.
"If we want to get more applicants, we can put it over" to another meeting, Himmelrich said.
The applicant pool includes former City Councilmember Greg Morena, who resigned last June after learning his position prohibits him from renegotiating his restaurant lease with the City ("Morena to Resign from City Council," June 17, 2020).
Other applicants are former Rent Control Board member Robert Kronovet, who served from 2008 to 2012, and Jason Feldman, who finished a distant fourth in the November race for three School Board seats.
It also includes four members of City Boards and Commissions -- Elaine V. Barringer, Derek Devermont, Albin Gielicz and Angela Scott, a member of the Committee for Racial Justice.
Scott is one of five former members of the Public Safety Reform Advisory Committee who applied for the commission the committe recommended ("Santa Monica Announces Appointments to Police Reform Advisory Committee," July 10, 2020).
Former committee member George Brown, co-author of the "New Era of Public Safety" report for the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, and resident Michael Shotten, also applied.
Among the few Latinos who filed applications is retired Santa Monica police officer George Centeno, who grew up in the Pico Neighborhood and served as police chief at LAX.
Established in January, Santa Monica's first civilian police oversight commission was created in response to nationwide protests over the deaths of Black citizens at the hands of police ("Santa Monica Establishes Civilian Police Oversight Commission," January 14, 20221).
The 11-member commission appointed by the Council will work with the Police Department and experts to "recommend reforms to SMPD policies, practices, and handling of complaints regarding SMPD conduct," City officials said.
An Inspector General retained by the City Manager's office -- who will report to and receive direction from the Commission -- will "view internal documents and provide data at the appropriate level to the Commission."
The Commission also will receive support from a staff liaison from outside of the Police Department, as well as from a Deputy City Attorney, officials said.
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