El Cerrito is a small city with great opportunities for credible accountability and oversight. The City Council of El Cerrito are elected representatives of residents tasked with providing leadership and policy direction for the City. Under the policies established by the City Council, the City Manager is responsible for the professional management of all operations of the City. The City Manager is the City’s chief executive, hired by and directly responsible to the City Council. The El Cerrito City Manager has oversight over all City departments responsible for implementing programs and delivering public services. In particular, the City Manager is responsible for hiring, supervising, and firing the Chief of Police.
The City Manager is developing new practices to ensure that Police Department complaints, internal investigations, and uses of force are properly and thoroughly reviewed by her office. Each month, the City Manager will review new complaints and/or uses of force that have occurred as well as the dispositions of investigations. In her role as a direct report to the City Council, she may review significant incidents with the City Council for direction.
The El Cerrito Police Department will begin annually reporting statistics and data related to the use of force in the summer of 2020 and thereafter in the department’s annual report.
Although some residents have requested that all internal investigations and complaints be made public, state law prohibits this practice. Currently, state lawmakers are considering legislation that may change the confidentiality of some police investigations. State Senator Skinner has sponsored SB 776 that seeks to make all uses of force and complaints of dishonesty and sexual misconduct public records, regardless of whether the allegations were sustained.