January 20, 2015, 7:00 PM Annual Election of Board Members of the Sonoma County ACLU Chapter!

Join the ACLU of Sonoma County on Tuesday, January 20, 2015 at 7 PM to elect our 2015 Board of Directors, eat pizza, socialize, and enjoy a screening of American Violet, a film about the ACLU’s efforts to stop discriminatory prosecution in Texas. No RSVP required. Location: 467 Sebastopol Avenue, Santa Rosa, CA 95401.

Chapters create an ACLU presence in communities across Northern and Central California, providing spaces for activists and leaders to come together to organize and advocate for civil liberties. Chapters are the ACLU’s eyes and ears in the community, monitoring school boards, city councils, county board of supervisors, law enforcement, and other local decision-making bodies. Chapters keep lawmakers on their toes by representing ACLU priorities and issues in meetings and legislative hearings with their local, state, and federal elected officials.

ACLU of Sonoma County Newsletter Summer 2014

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Click here to view PDF of ACLU Sonoma County Newsletter Summer 2014

ACLU Sonoma County Position on Civilian Review Board

1. The Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office, as overseen by the Board of Supervisors, needs to take a new approach to “community policing” — one in which the community feels respected and protected by law enforcement, not harassed and threatened.

2. There should be a thorough reassessment of the use of deadly force by law enforcement agencies across Sonoma County, focusing on policies, training of officers and evaluation of their conduct. While officer safety is important, the emphasis should be on protecting the public.

3. There should be an immediate independent review of all the facts in the fatal shooting of Andy Lopez on Oct. 22, as well as full public disclosure of results of all investigations.

4. We call on the U.S. Civil Rights Commission to return to Sonoma County to investigate police killings since 1998.

5. We support establishment of a countywide Civilian Review Board, with provisions stated below.

6. We call for installation of body cams and patrol car cameras for all police agencies in Sonoma County, with the necessary privacy provisions.

7. We support conversion of the open space at Moorland and West Robles avenues into the Andy Lopez Memorial Park.


1. INDEPENDENCE: The power to conduct hearings, subpoena witnesses who testify under oath and report findings and recommendations to the public.

2. INVESTIGATORY POWER: The authority to independently investigate incidents and issue findings on complaints.

3. MANDATORY POLICE COOPERATION: Complete access to police witnesses and documents through legal mandate or subpoena power.

4. ADEQUATE FUNDING: Should not be a lower budget priority than police internal affairs.

5. HEARINGS: Essential for solving credibility questions and enhancing public confidence in process.

6. REFLECT COMMUNITY DIVERSITY: Board & staff should be broadly representative of the community it serves.

7. POLICY RECOMMENDATIONS: Citizen oversight can spot problem policies and provide a forum for developing reform.

8. STATISTICAL ANALYSIS: Public statistical reports can detail trends in allegations, and early warning systems can identify officers who are subjects of unusually numerous complaints.

9. SEPARATE OFFICES: Should be housed away from police headquarters to maintain independence and credibility with public.

10. DISCIPLINARY ROLE: Board findings should be considered in determining appropriate disciplinary action.

11. ADEQUATE TRAINING AND EXPERTISE: To ensure that Board members are knowledgeable about proper police practices, conduct meaningful investigations and can make informed recommendations