Former cop returns to lead county’s law enforcement review board

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A San Diego County Sheriff’s Department vehicle with crime tape attached to its mirror at a scene.

SAN DIEGO (CNS) – A former police officer and medical examiner will lead the county Citizens’ Law Enforcement Review Board, which is focused on increasing law enforcement oversight, the county announced Thursday.

It won’t be Paul Parker’s first time in the role, having previously served as the board’s leader in 2017-18 before leaving to become chief deputy director of the Los Angeles County’s medical examiner/coroner’s office.

Parker succeeds Julio Estrada, who announced his retirement last month from the county after 28 years. He spent nearly the last 11 as CLERB’s executive officer.

Parker said he was excited to return to San Diego and be involved in a key moment of nationwide change to “improve law enforcement and community relations.” He said one of CLERB’s first goals will be to increase community outreach, better acquaint residents with CLERB’s role and work, and be “more proactive” with the public.

He said it was an ideal time to be executive director of a civilian oversight entity in the United States.

“With my experience here in San Diego, already forming and having relationships, knowing the players involved at both the sheriff’s and probation departments — this is an exciting time. We have a lot of work to do.”

Parker’s career includes service as a police officer for 10 years, along with two decades in the medical examiner/coroner field in San Diego, Los Angeles, Phoenix and Las Vegas.

CLERB board Chairwoman Susan Youngflesh said the agency wanted someone with extensive experience in law enforcement and the investigatory field.

San Diego County voters created CLERB in 1990 to provide independent investigation and oversight of the county’s sheriff’s and probation departments. Part of the board’s authority includes oversight of all county jails in unincorporated areas and in the nine cities that rely on the county to provide law enforcement.

In June, the County Board of Supervisors approved increasing CLERB’s independence and strengthening its oversight. The decision was largely in response to protests in the San Diego region and across the country after the custodial killing in May of George Floyd by Minneapolis police. The Board of Supervisors’ actions included:

  • Directing CLERB to increase community involvement with the appointment process for its 11-member, volunteer board of directors;
  • Moving CLERB from the Public Safety Group — which includes the sheriff’s and probation departments — to the Finance and General Government Group to ensure independence, and;
  • Expanding CLERB’s investigatory authority, funding and staffing.

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