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Police Reform Commission Set to Begin Work

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By Jorge Casuso

May 3, 2021 -- A former City Councilmember, a retired Santa Monica police officer, a hotel manager and two local youths are among the 11 members of Santa Monica's new police reform commission.

The City Council made the appointments last Tuesday after extending the deadline in an effort to solicit more applications from minorities and youth.

The Public Safety Reform and Oversight Commission will also include two members of the Committee for Racial Justice, a member of the District's PTA Council and a Social Services commissioner.

Established by the City Council in January, the Commission will "recommend reforms to SMPD policies, practices, and handling of complaints regarding SMPD conduct" ("Santa Monica Establishes Civilian Police Oversight Commission," January 14, 2021).

The Commission will direct an Inspector General retained by the City Manager's office who will "view internal documents and provide data at the appropriate level to the Commission."

The members of the new Commission, chosen from among 71 applicants, are:

Former City Councilmember Greg Morena, who resigned last June after learning his position prohibited him from renegotiating his restaurant lease with the City;

George Centeno, a retired Santa Monica police officer who grew up in the Pico Neighborhood and served as police chief at LAX;

George Brown, a former member of the Committee for Racial Justice and co-author of the "New Era of Public Safety" report for the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights;

Angela Scott, a member of the Committee for Racial Justice who served on the the City's new Public Safety Reform Advisory Committee that recommended the creation of the commission;

Jaime Cruz, a youth advocate and member of the Pico Neighborhood Partnership;

Manju Raman, general manager of the Huntley Hotel and a board member of the Santa Monica Police Activities League (PAL);

Craig Miller, founder of AIDS Walk Los Angeles;

Lana Negrete, a member of the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District's Parent Teacher Association (PTA) Council and

Derek Devermont, a member of the City's Social Services Commission.

Appointed to fill the two seats reserved for youth between the ages of 18 and 22 were Miranda McLaughlin-Basseri and Samantha Mota.

They were among the three youth who submitted applications, all of them after the application deadline was extended ("Council Takes Second Shot at Appointing Police Commission," April 26, 2021).

The Public Safety Reform and Oversight Commission was created by the Council in the wake of national protests over the killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer last Memorial Day.

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