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Community News: East

EAST LOS ANGELES : Panel Will Advise Sheriff's Station

July 18, 1993|MARY ANNE PEREZ

The East Los Angeles Station of the Sheriff's Department is forming an advisory committee that will address excessive force and other community issues.

All stations and substations of the Sheriff's Department are forming similar committees in response to the Kolts Report issued last year, which documented abuses by deputies and found that there are few avenues for citizen complaints. The report recommended forming community advisory committees as one way of improving the department.

"This is not to review force or allegations of excessive force," said Capt. Ramon Sanchez, who will oversee the committee. "We're looking for a good cross-section of the community, whether it be grass-roots groups or whoever else would like to do this."

One grass-roots group, PODER, an acronym for Pro-active Organization Dedicated to the Empowerment of Raza, hopes to make recommendations to the committee, which will be formed by Aug. 1.

"We're looking for individuals who are not scared to voice out about these issues," said Maritza Alvarez, community organizer for PODER, which means "power" in Spanish.

Sanchez said the committee will include about 12 residents who will initially become familiar with the department, its policies and procedures, training, complaint procedures, use of force and community outreach programs. After the initial phase, the committee will meet quarterly to discuss community issues, he said.

"Maybe we can all work together and find that we all have some mutual problems that we can use the same resources to address," Sanchez said.

Information: (213) 264-9333.

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