The City’s newly formed public safety committee held a virtual meeting last week. Courtesy image.

Santa Monica is set to create its first civilian police oversight body known as the Public Safety Reform and Oversight Commission.

Following unanimous approval from City Council Tuesday, the city will follow recommendations made by the Public Safety Reform Advisory Committee, which convened in the summer of 2020, and form a Public Safety Reform and Oversight Commission that will promote the best practices in community-oriented policing for the fair treatment, safety, and wellbeing of all.

The Commission will also have the power and duty to:

  • Review and make recommendations regarding SMPD policies and practices;
  • Receive information relating to any violations of procedures or policies in connection with disciplinary investigations, proceedings, and actions, and make recommendations regarding any such violations;
  • Collaborate with the SMPD to sponsor and promote ongoing interaction and trust building between the SMPD and community members, including providing channels and opportunities for ongoing dialogue between the SMPD and community members in both organized and informal settings;
  • Promote transparency and availability to the public of SMPD data and records;
  • Collaborate with the SMPD and the community to promote restorative justice;
  • Evaluate and make recommendations regarding ideas for implementing best practices in community-oriented policing and reimagining public safety and wellbeing; and
  • Review and make recommendations regarding the proposed budget for the SMPD.

“Public safety reform for Santa Monica has been a thorough and inclusive process at every step,” said Mayor Sue Himmelrich. “The structure for the Public Safety Reform and Oversight Commission reflects community recommendations and creates a sustainable model for meaningful civilian oversight and ongoing community engagement.”

The ordinance is expected to return to Council for second reading and final adoption at its next meeting on January 26, according to staff. “Following final adoption, City staff will solicit applications from community members interested in serving on the Commission.  The application period for the Commission will be widely promoted.”