The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s Civilian Oversight Commission is hosting its annual organizational meeting — its first in-person get-together since the pandemic — at William S. Hart Park in Newhall from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursday.
Now that the meetings have resumed an in-person format, the commission plans to move its monthly gatherings throughout Los Angeles County to give more residents a chance to participate, according to Jennifer Wicks, community information officer for the Civilian Oversight Commission. This is the second time the group has held its annual organizational meeting in Santa Clarita, she added.
The purpose of Thursday’s meeting at Hart Park is to set the agenda and largely to take care of administrative business, according to Brian K. Williams, who’s been executive director of the commission for the past six years.
“This is our organizational meeting where we’ll spend a little bit of time administratively determining how we’re going to approach the next year,” Williams said Monday. “So there’s really nothing specific to the (Santa Clarita Valley), but it’s just sort of our overall work plan that we’re going to work on.”
Walker added his group already has had a number of “really good discussions” with recently sworn-in Sheriff Robert Luna and his staff, although with Thursday’s meeting being largely administrative in purpose, the group did not anticipate his attendance.
Walker added that if someone has an issue they’d like to discuss with respect to LASD operations, there will be time for that Thursday, adding he did not anticipate this meeting would run for the entire four-hour block of time scheduled.
The commission, formed in 2014 to provide more oversight and transparency to the agency following former Sheriff Lee Baca’s resignation, is composed of nine members who represent the Board of Supervisors, including four members who are recommended by community groups, according to the commission’s website.
The group previously was at loggerheads with former Sheriff Alex Villanueva, who declined to testify in front of the commission in July unless certain conditions were met, which one member called “out of line,” according to a number of media reports.
In a letter to Williams, Villanueva, citing previous testimony given to the panel, questioned whether the commission was trying to “put on a show.”
Hart Park is located at 24151 Newhall Ave. in Santa Clarita.
Anyone who’d like to RSVP to attend the meeting can do so at bit.ly/SheriffCOC. A written public comment can be submitted at bit.ly/39QQIC8.