LA County Board of Supervisors to get access to files of deputy involved shootings

The jacket of a Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department deputy.
The jacket of a Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department deputy.
Stuart Palley/KPCC

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors' agreed on a process Tuesday for requesting files on deputy-involved shootings, albeit one dependent on the sheriff's cooperation. 

It's part of an ongoing effort by supervisors to increase civilian oversight of the L.A. County Sheriff's Department.

Supervisor Gloria Molina, who frequently rails against the high cost to the county of lawsuits involving suspects and victims shot by deputies, called the move an important step during the board meeting.

Molina told KPCC that while the board approves millions of dollars in payouts for court decisions and settlements each year, they have little information on how the sheriff 's department investigates and disciplines deputies in the wake of such shootings.

Under the new process, "we can provide the kind of supervision that we have a duty and responsibility to provide," Molina said. 

Related: Los Angeles County Supervisor Gloria Molina wants more information on law enforcement shootings

If one or more more county supervisors want to view an investigatory file, a request can now be made, which the Office of the County Counsel forwards to the sheriff's department. If the sheriff agrees, the documents can be viewed under strict confidentiality rules. If the sheriff does not provide the documents, the supervisors can request a written explanation as to the reason for the denial. 

Previously, the Office of County Counsel had told supervisors they may not have access to such confidential files.

While the new process does not guarantee access, Molina said she recently used it and the sheriff's department was able to accommodate her request.