Supervisors Reject Civilian Oversight of Troubled L.A. Sheriff’s Department by 3-2 Vote

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On a 3-2 vote Tuesday, Los Angeles County supervisors defeated a proposal to create a civilian oversight body for the Sheriff's Department, which has been beset by scandals and federal investigations into the treatment of jail inmates.

The action may be only a temporary set-back, however, since the swing vote was cast by termed-out Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky. Both candidates to replace him in the Nov. 4 general election -- Sheila Kuehl and Bobby Shriver -- have said they favor such a commission.

Tuesday's vote came after advocates -- dozens of whom spoke at the Board of Supervisors' meeting -- argued that civilian oversight is the only way to hold members of the nation's largest Sheriff's Department truly accountable.

But a majority of supervisors agreed that they first want to focus on setting up the newly-created inspector general's office for the Sheriff's Department. They also pointed out that under current law, a civilian commission would not have authority over the elected sheriff.

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