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Supervisors pick appointees to law enforcement task force

Sonoma County supervisors took further steps Tuesday in their response to the Andy Lopez shooting, naming most of their appointees to a community task force that will study models for future citizen oversight of local law enforcement.

Supervisors named representatives for nine of the 15 seats they will appoint on the 21-member county-chartered panel. Sheriff Steve Freitas also named his three representatives.

The nominees take in a cross section of the public and private sector, including human rights activists, student leaders, a nonprofit director, a law enforcement official, a former Santa Rosa city attorney, a prominent local academic and a politically active former county supervisor. At least six of those named are Latino.

Supervisors voiced confidence they were on track to form a panel diverse in ethnicity, professional background and geographic representation of the county.

"The board's intent was to create a robust, full-breadth scope of individuals who best represent as many constituencies or as many facets of our county and community (as possible)," said Supervisor Efren Carrillo. "These are great individuals that do carry the county's best interests in mind."

The task force was set in motion last week in a package of actions the Board of Supervisors endorsed to respond to community outcry in the wake of Lopez's shooting death Oct. 22.

The 13-year-old Santa Rosa boy was shot and killed by Erick Gelhaus, a veteran Sonoma County sheriff's deputy who reportedly mistook the airsoft BB gun Lopez was carrying for a real assault rifle.

In response, the county last week gave its support to state legislation to more closely regulate the look of BB, pellet and airsoft guns.

Supervisors also backed creating a memorial park in Lopez's southwest Santa Rosa neighborhood and pledged to boost spending for small businesses and infrastructure in disadvantaged areas.

Their other key initiative, launched this week, will be to break a decades-long logjam with Santa Rosa that's left much of the city's southwestern outskirts languishing in county jurisdiction.


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