OPINION: Measure P on the Ballot: Our right to Police Oversight-IOLERO

Originally published Sept 9, 2020

The Evelyn Cheatham Effective Independent Office of Law Enforcement Review and Outreach (IOLERO) Ordinance

Sometimes, speaking up works and it just did in Sonoma County. Sometimes, the times are right for change and this might just be that time.

For more than twenty years, community members have been working towards achieving effective community oversight of the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office. After the killing of Andy Lopez by a sheriff’s deputy, a partial victory was achieved with the County’s creation of the Independent Office of Law Enforcement Review and Outreach (IOLERO). But the office was created without the tools to be effective - no subpoena power, no independent investigatory power, no requirement that the Sheriff’s Office cooperate and not enough money to do the job. Measure P provides the remedy.

Santa Rosa May 3- 11 2020 BLK matters protests. (Exclusive permission from photographer)
Santa Rosa May 3- 11 2020 BLK matters protests. (Exclusive permission from photographer)

After a long campaign to get a measure to address these failings on the ballot in November 2020 and invigorated by the activism of the community in response to the killing of George Floyd and so many others, the proponents of the Evelyn Cheatham Ordinance convinced the Board of Supervisors to vote unanimously to place the ordinance on the ballot. As a result, you can now vote for a more effective IOLERO when you go to the polls in November.

Jerry Threet, Former Director of the Independent Office of Law Enforcement Review and Outreach, speaks about the ballot initiative, IOLERO’s background, Sheriff push back and the petition process:

https://www.ksro.com/2019/10/21/interview-jerry-threet/

Initial IOLERO Commitee Evelyn Cheatham 4th from left, Jerry Threet 3rd from right (Photo: Soco Effective Oversight)
Initial IOLERO Commitee Evelyn Cheatham 4th from left, Jerry Threet 3rd from right (Photo: Soco Effective Oversight)

The goal of Measure P is an office able to help guide the Sheriff’s Office to policies that have been studied across the country and found to make both the public and law enforcement officers safer. These are called “best practices.” It is common for an agency to feel threatened by change. We’ve all been there personally at one time or another. But sometimes fresh eyes are exactly what’s needed. And that’s what IOLERO is - fresh eyes.

One of the stated goals of the County, in creating IOLERO, was to build greater trust between the community and the Sheriff’s Office. Knowing that the deputies are employing “best practices” will help to foster that trust. The Evelyn Cheatham Effective IOLERO Ordinance - now Measure P - is an important step to building a Sheriff’s Office the community can trust.

Those who favor the status quo will be throwing big money against this ordinance. Please consider donating (no amount is too small!) to help us promote the ordinance and counter the misinformation which is already being spread. You can get more information, donate or volunteer by visiting socoeffectiveoversight.org.

SOCO EFFECTIVE OVERSIGHT

FPPC # 1422712

EVELYN CHEATHAM COMMITTEE TO SUPPORT AN EFFECTIVE IOLERO:
Independent Office of Law Enforcement Review and Outreach

MEASURE P: Evelyn Cheatham Effective IOLERO Ordinance

The Evelyn Cheatham Ordinance has received its measure letter for the November election. Support Measure P this November for stronger oversight of the Sonoma County Sheriff's Office.

Please vote “Yes!” on Measure P

“To fear the world we have organized and led for three-quarters of a century, to abandon the ideals we have advanced around the globe, to refuse the obligations of international leadership and our duty to remain ‘the last best hope of earth’ for the sake of some half-baked, spurious nationalism cooked up by people who would rather find scapegoats than solve problems, is as unpatriotic as an attachment to any other tired dogma of the past that Americans consigned to the ash heap of history.”

- Senator McCain - R.I.P.

More information:

Who Was Eveyln Cheatham?

Eveyln Cheatham (Photo: Soco Effective Oversight)
Eveyln Cheatham (Photo: Soco Effective Oversight)

After the killing of Andy Lopez in 2013, Evelyn served on the county task force charged with recommending changes to prevent a repeat of that family and community trauma. She worked hard through challenging weekly meetings for 15 months and was key to the creation of IOLERO, the civilian oversight agency that came from that effort.

Evelyn passed away in her sleep in 2019.To honor Evelyn’s significant work and legacy in this area, the Committee to Support an Effective IOLERO has named the proposed initiative ordinance in honor of Evelyn: the Evelyn Cheatham Ordinance for an Effective IOLERO. We all miss Evelyn deeply. But we carry on her work in her name and in honor of her loving presence. It’s the least that we can do.

Who is Jerry Threet?

Jerry Threet Founder; from 2016 – 2019, he established the Independent Office of Law Enforcement Review and Outreach and served as Director.
Jerry Threet Founder; from 2016 – 2019, he established the Independent Office of Law Enforcement Review and Outreach and served as Director.

Former Director of the Independent Office of Law Enforcement Review and Outreach.

Jerry Threet is a solo attorney in private practice, following a long and varied career in law and public service. Mr. Threet's practice focuses on issues of police oversight and accountability, public records and transparency, consumer and tenant protections, employee discrimination, and wage theft.

During his career, Mr. Threet has personally conducted hundreds of investigations, depositions, witness interviews, factual evaluations, negotiations, and community meetings, and has significant personal experience working with diverse populations. From 2016 – 2019, he established the Independent Office of Law Enforcement Review and Outreach and served as Director. IOLERO is the first civilian oversight body established in Sonoma County, following the killing of 13-year-old Andy Lopez in 2013 by a deputy sheriff. In 2018, the county settled a federal lawsuit over Andy’s shooting for $3 Million.

Read more about this impressive humanitarian and policy activist: https://sonomacounty.ca.gov/Human-Rights/Jerry-Threet/

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