Orange County should stop playing politics with the Office of Independent Review

Supervisor Todd Spitzer listens to speakers during the public comment section of the Orange County Board of Supervisors meeting before they voted to join the U.S. Department of Justice lawsuit against the State of California’s sanctuary cities law (SB54) during their meeting in Santa Ana on Tuesday, Mar 27, 2018. (Photo by Jeff Gritchen, Orange County Register/SCNG)

Your editorial on July 7, “Let Orange County’s Law Enforcement Watchdog Work,” made critical points urging the Board of Supervisors to reverse a recent vote to have the Office of Independent Review focus on its originally purpose — to watchdog our county’s criminal justice agencies.

The public has a right to know that board politics is not only hindering, but quashing critical oversight of the county’s biggest law enforcement agencies — the Sheriff’s Department and the District Attorney’s Office. This is at a time when both agencies are under investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice and have suffered from terrible and tragic missteps.

Nothing has changed in my quest to provide proper oversight since, as board chairman is 2015, I fought and won the expansion of the OIR to all county agencies involved in criminal justice. It had become clear that Orange County needed a watchdog over the Sheriff’s Department after the murder of John Chamberlain in our county jail in 2010. But since the OIR’s creation, malfeasance and misconduct continued to permeate other departments, including the District Attorney’s Office. The public has waited long enough and certainly now deserves answers.

Since the OIR expansion in 2015, the county has had a jail escape by three hard-core…

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