The Office of the Sheriff is established to preserve peace and supervise crime prevention and rehabilitation of persons convicted of crime. The Board of Supervisors is authorized to oversee the official conduct of all county officers, including the Sheriff, within constitutional and statutory principles that limit interference with core law enforcement investigatory functions. New law vests the Board of Supervisors with discretion to create an oversight body, inspector general, or both to assist with the Board’s oversight functions related to the Sheriff.
About this Subcommittee
On September 13, 2022, Supervisors Dave Pine and Warren Slocum were appointed to an ad-hoc subcommittee to consider supplemental Sheriff’s oversight. On November 1, 2022, the Board of Supervisors received an initial informational presentation on supplemental Sheriff’s oversight in a Board Study Session, which included a review of supplemental oversight models that have been implemented or considered in other jurisdictions and next steps for analysis and possible implementation.
Work of the Subcommittee
Since the November 2022 Study Session, the Subcommittee and its staff have contracted for technical assistance, commissioned research, met with stakeholders and representatives of community organizations, and received information to assess the need for and potential structure of any supplemental sheriff’s oversight. Some of those steps are described below.
The County of San Mateo has contracted with Stanford University’s John W. Gardner Center for Youth and Their Communities to conduct independent research to provide insight into local community-police relations. Gardner Center’s inquiry will include collecting and analyzing data gathered via multiple methods, such as community focus groups conducted in Spanish, Mandarin and English; surveys of county board members and commissioners; and attendance at multiple meetings of the Community Advisors for Responsible Engagement (CARE) advisory groups initiated by Sheriff Christina Corpus. The research will also include reviewing existing research related to local community perceptions of inclusion, safety, and relations with law enforcement.
The County has also contracted with the National Association of Civilian Oversight of Law Enforcement (NACOLE), an organization that works to create community support for civilian oversight of law enforcement, to provide technical assistance and information to the Subcommittee. NACOLE’s work includes, among other things, presentation to the Subcommittee on potential models of supplemental sheriff’s oversight.
Additional information has been provided to the Subcommittee by, or is anticipated to be provided by, the County Attorney’s Office, the County’s Office of Community Affairs, the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office, the San Mateo County Deputy Sheriff’s Association, and the San Mateo County Office of Sheriff’s Sergeants.
Subject to completion of information gathering and analysis, the Subcommittee is currently targeting October 24, 2023, for a Study Session of the Board of Supervisors to review the work of the Subcommittee and receive updates, presentations, and any recommendations it may provide. This Study Session would commence at 9:00 a.m. in the Board of Supervisors’ Chambers and be available via Zoom.
Should the Board provide direction to staff to pursue a form of supplemental sheriff’s oversight, additional work will likely be required including development of any enabling resolution or ordinance. The implementation and finalization of any supplemental sheriff’s oversight may also require formal negotiations and bargaining with impacted unions in compliance with the applicable labor laws and agreements.