Supervisors extend deadline for Andy Lopez task force to draft proposals

The Sonoma County Board of Supervisors agreed Tuesday to extend the deadline for a task force created in the wake of the Andy Lopez shooting to deliver its recommendations.

The task force, which was formed in December and instructed to complete its work by the end of 2014, was given three additional months Tuesday to draft its proposals in four key areas.

The 21-member panel is analyzing models for an independent civilian review of law enforcement shootings; examining options for community policing programs; studying whether to separate the Sheriff's Office and Coroner's Office into two agencies; and exploring ways to repair trust in law enforcement among residents, especially those in the Latino and minority communities.

Supervisors created the panel to address four issues they deemed essential to community healing following the death of Lopez, a 13-year-old Santa Rosa boy who was fatally shot last October by a Sonoma County sheriff's deputy.

The Community and Local Law Enforcement Task Force, now about a third of the way into the year, updated supervisors Tuesday on its progress. Some members said they would welcome more time to complete their work.

Judy Rice, who chairs one of panel's three subcommittees, pointed out the task force was actually given less than a year to make its draft recommendations, because county staff needs three to four months to take the proposals to county groups for input before finalizing them.

"That, in effect, cuts our working year to eight months," she said. "It's not enough."

Rice suggested giving the task force until the end of the calendar year to complete its recommendations, then providing additional time in 2015 to finalize them.

"It will make all the difference in the world in the depth of what we're able to accomplish," she said.

Task Force Chair Caroline Ba?elos said she felt the task force could accomplish all its goals within the year, given what the group had achieved so far.

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