Free Compliments of our Advertisers
Sonoma County Gazette

Evelyn Cheatham Effective IOLERO Ordinance Brief Summary

Mar 16, 2020


By Jerry Threet

All communities want and deserve the most effective and responsive Sheriff’s Office that can be achieved in Sonoma County. Best practices in modern law enforcement emphasize community-oriented policing and corrections practices, including collaborating with independent, effective civilian oversight. Effective civilian oversight facilitates increased transparency, which is necessary for increased trust between law enforcement and all communities.

In 2016, Sonoma County took a great stride toward workable oversight in response to the Andy Lopez shooting and the previous history of community trauma involving law enforcement and the Sheriff’s Office. After three years of experience with the current IOLERO Ordinance, however, it is clear that changes are needed make IOLERO more effective and realize it promise. The National Association for Civilian Oversight of Law Enforcement (“NACOLE”) has established core principles for effective oversight of law enforcement. 

The EVELYN CHEATHAM EFFECTIVE IOLERO ORDINANCE will ensure that IOLERO meets the NACOLE principles of effective oversight. The result will be a more independent, transparent, effective civilian oversight office that can better assist the Sheriff’s Office in improving its operations. We all want the Sheriff’s Office to be the best that it can be. This measure will help ensure that goal is achieved.

Substantive Changes

The new ordinance will make several changes to bring IOLERO in line with the NACOLE principles of effective oversight. Those principles include independence, sufficient resources, clear authority, and unfettered access to the information and staff needed to accomplish the agency’s mission of oversight.  

The proposed ordinance would secure IOLERO’s independence by making the Director appointed for a term of three years, removable for cause only by a 4/5 vote o the Board of Supervisors. This contrast with the current appointment where the Director serves at the pleasure of the Board and can be removed at any time for any reason.

The new ordinance would guarantee IOLERO adequate resources with a minimum budget of 1% of the Sheriff’s budget, a benchmark that has been accepted as a best practice for oversight agencies by NACOLE. That contrast with the current budget of IOLERO, which is about .36% of the Sheriff’s budget. This lack of resources has severely hampered IOLERO’s ability to meet its missions.

The new ordinance would set out IOLERO’s clear authority to perform its missions and mandate cooperation by the Sheriff, where currently all cooperation is entirely voluntary and can be ended at any time by any Sheriff. And it will require IOLERO review all investigations of serious misconduct by a deputy. It also will require IOELRO independently investigate any death at the hands of a Sheriff’s deputy, and provide subpoena power to do so.

Finally, the ordinance amendments will guarantee IOLERO direct, unfettered access to the information and staff of the Sheriff’s Office, where currently such access depends on the discretion of the Sheriff and his staff. Without such unfettered access, IOLERO can never certify that an investigation has been complete and reached the correct findings. 

For additional reading on this topic - please see:


Mar 17, 2020
We need this ordinance! Public attention may be sidetracked at the moment but let's not allow corona to divert us from demanding the rights and protections we need and deserve - this applies equally to climate regulation and police oversight. For me, placing the focus on something positive that we can do - particularly at the local level - alleviates fear. So, may I suggest two things to do today: write to your supervisor and then get out into nature for a while. Happy St. Paddy's!
- Kathleen Finigan

Login to Make a Comment

Please support our sponsors:

City Ventures New Homes in Santa Rosa

CLICK on this ad to LEARN about NEW HOMES in TWO Communities in Santa Rosa, Sonoma County

Fine Tree Care - Sonoma County Tree Services

Visit Fine Tree Care WEBSITE for a List of our SERVICES - Testimonials and to request a FREE Estimate

Flip through the pages of the print edition of the 2020 Sonoma County Gardeners Resource Guide

Your 2020 GUIDE to support locally-owned garden businesses and natural landscaping practices.

LOCAL GUIDE to Cannabis Dispensaries and Delivery Services, Sonoma County & Beyond.

LOCAL GUIDE to Cannabis Dispensaries and Delivery Services, Sonoma County & Beyond.All dispensaries have verified their information.

Sonoma County Bicycle Shops and Groups

Sonoma County Bike Shops and Groups. Find LOCALLY-OWNED Bicycle Shops for NEW, Used and Rental Bicycles as well as REPAIR. Look for a bike-riding group that suits your needs and style.

Locally-Owned Jewelry Businesses in Sonoma County

Find Goldsmiths and Jewelers who create custom designs, offer jewelry repair, estate appraisals, and gems.

Bookstores of Sonoma County - LOCAL GUIDE

Find a LOCALLY-OWNED Bookstore near you - CLICK HERE

Flower Shops and Florists of Sonoma County

Please support locally-owned businesses and tell them the Gazette sent you - THANK YOU!