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Members of San Diego's Citizens Review Board on Police Practices, an oversight board on law enforcement, will have to be satisfied with the occasional free meal, validated parking at city hall, and unrestricted attendance to law enforcement conferences as compensation for their service on the city commission. Any other compensation, reads a June 19 staff report, would run afoul of current city practices.

The city's determination, released in preparation for an upcoming city council committee hearing, comes in response to a May 25, 2016 report from the County Grand Jury which found that paying the review board members "modest compensation" for their time and expenses could improve membership and increase the number of qualified people willing to sit on the review board.

But city officials say the current set-up, where members of the police review board are given parking, meals, and entrance to conferences, as well as the sheer satisfaction of volunteering, is enough.

"...Compensation for board service runs counter to current city practice for volunteer boards, reads the In a June 19 staff report which will be presented to the Public Safety and Neighborhood Services Committee.

"If [Citizens Review Board] members were to receive compensation, it would be an outlier for boards in the city. The City does provide free parking in the Evan Jones Parkade to [Citizens Review Board] members, on request, for meetings that take place at city hall. Members of other city boards also have this benefit available. Also, [San Diego Police Department] provides [Citizens Review Board] members free parking for meetings at [police] headquarters."

The May 2016 grand jury report found that oversight of police practices lacked clear review practices. In addition grand jury members also believed that having the city attorney giving legal advice on complaints raised potential conflicts of interest. To better improve effectiveness the grand jury suggested the members receive compensation for their time, hire outside legal counsel, and submit annual reports on police practices.

As to the suggestion of hiring outside legal counsel, city staff says they are currently in the process of hiring outside counsel to provide "as-needed legal advice."

Members of San Diego's Public Safety and Neighborhood Services Committee will meet on June 28 at 1:00 p.m. in city hall.

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