LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Measure R is a ballot initiative that would significantly strengthen civilian oversight of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and would focus county officials on improving psychiatric care, drug treatment and other services for people who are currently sent to jail.
Early returns showed voters strongly support the measure with 420,370 voting in favor and 180,347 voting against.
Though the Board of Supervisors already moved ahead last year with versions of each of these steps, voters’ approval would go beyond what the board could accomplish in a number of subtle but significant ways.
The Civilian Oversight Commission was originally created by the board in 2016 after families of jail inmates and others in communities most affected by police violence demanded transparency from the department, but without the power to issue subpoenas, the commission has not been able to offer much in the way of actual oversight.
Measure R would not only grant the commission subpoena power, opening the department to further civilian scrutiny, but it would also require the board to build on work of community advocates, academics and attorneys who have been crafting a plan for alternatives to incarceration — including better community-based mental healthcare.
The funding for the latter comes from money that, until recently, was slated to be spent on new jails.
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