Agency Profile-San Diego


Agency: Citizens’ Law Enforcement Review Board (CLERB)

Contact Information:

Citizens’ Law Enforcement Review Board (CLERB)

555 W. Beech Street, Suite 220

San Diego, CA 92101-2940

Phone: 619-238-6776

Fax: 619-238-6775

Agency website:

Type of oversight agency/mechanism: Investigative, Review Board

Oversight of: San Diego County Sheriff’s Department and Probation Department

Number of sworn officers: Approximation: Sheriff – 2600, Probation –1050  

Population of community served: 3,211,252 (2014)

Enabling Authority: County Ordinance 7880-N.S (See Attachment 1)

Staff: Four (5) total (See Attachments 7-9, Job Descriptions)

  • (1) Executive Officer
  • (3) Special Investigator
  • (1) Administrative Secretary III

Annual Budget: Approved Operational Budget (2015-16) $625,732

Authority/function/jurisdiction (See Attachments 3-5)

  • Receives complaints
  • Classifies complaints
  • Investigates complaints, fatal officer-involved shootings, and in-custody deaths using civilian investigators
  • Makes findings on complaints and death investigations completed by civilian investigators
  • Makes policy, procedure, and training recommendations to the Sheriff and Chief Probation Officer

Scope of agency’s authority:

Receive, review and investigate citizens complaints which charge peace officers or custodial officers employed by the Sheriff’s Department or the Probation Department with (A) use of excessive force, (B) discrimination or sexual harassment in respect to members of the public, (C) the improper discharge of firearms, (D) illegal search or seizure, (E) false arrest, (f) false reporting, (G) criminal conduct or (H) misconduct.

Review and investigate the death of any individual arising out of or in connection with actions of peace officers or custodial officers employed by the Sheriff’s Department or the Probation Department, regardless of whether a citizen complaint regarding such death has been filed with the Citizens Law Enforcement Review Board.

Prepare reports, including at least the Sheriff or the Probation Officer as recipients, on the results of any investigations conducted by the Citizens Law Enforcement Review Board in respect to the activities of peace officers or custodial officers, including recommendations relating to the imposition of discipline and recommendations relating to any trends in regard to employees involved in citizen complaints.

Prepare an annual report to the Board of Supervisors, the Chief Administrative Officer, the Sheriff, and the Chief Probation Officer summarizing the activities and recommendations of the Citizens Law Enforcement Review Board, including the tracking and identification of trends in respect to all complaints received and investigated during the reporting period.

Review and make recommendations on policies and procedures of the Sheriff and the Probation Officer.

Pursuant to the Administrative Code of the County of San Diego, Section 340, in the discharge of its duties, the Review Board shall receive complete and prompt cooperation from all officers and employees of the County. The Review Board and other public officers, including the Sheriff, the District Attorney, and the Grand Jury, shall coordinate their activities so that the other public officers and the Review Board can fully and properly perform their respective duties.

Subpoena Authority:

Yes (See Attachment 2).

Pursuant to the Charter of the County of San Diego, section 606(d), the Review Board has the power to subpoena and require attendance of witnesses and the production of books and papers pertinent to its investigations and to administer oaths.



Volunteer Review Board:

Citizens’ Law Enforcement Review Board (CLERB) consists of eleven volunteer Review Board Members, nominated by the Chief Administrative Officer, and appointed by the Board of Supervisors, for up to two full 3-year terms. Review Board Members serve without compensation. The Executive Officer serves at the pleasure of the Review Board.

Mission Statement:

To increase public confidence in government and the accountability of law enforcement by conducting impartial and independent investigations of citizen complaints of misconduct concerning Sheriff's Deputies and Probation Officers employed by the County of San Diego.

Complaint Process:

  • Intake: Complaints must be written, signed under penalty of perjury, and filed within one year of the incident. except that if the person filing the complaint was incarcerated or physically or mentally incapacitated from filing a complaint following the incident giving rise to the complaint, the period of incarceration or incapacity shall not be counted in determining whether the one year period for filing the complaint has expired.
  • Formal Investigation: CLERB investigates complaints of alleged misconduct against individual officers. The CLERB Investigator collects relevant documentary evidence and conducts interviews with the complainant and any witnesses. Deputies and Probation Officers are required to cooperate in the CLERB investigation process, and may be interviewed upon request. The investigator prepares a comprehensive investigative report, which contains applicable reports, statements, statutes, case law, relevant policies or procedures, any other documentary evidence, and a summary of the investigation. Recommended findings are provided for each allegation accompanied by the evidentiary rationale for concluding the finding.
  • Findings: The standard of review for the Review Board’s findings is one of “preponderance of evidence.” The Review Board may find as follows: Unfounded, Action Justified, Not Sustained, Sustained, and Summary Dismissal. After the Review Board votes to approve the findings, Final Finding Reports are forwarded to the Complainant, Subject Officers, Sheriff and/or Chief Probation Officer. All reports to the Sheriff and/or Chief Probation Officer are advisory.
  • Appeals: Upon request by the complainant, subject officer or their representatives, the Final Report may be re-opened for reconsideration by the Review Board provided that: (a) previously unknown relevant evidence is discovered, which was not available to the Review Board before it issued its Final Report, and; (b) there is a reasonable likelihood the new evidence will alter the findings and recommendations contained in the Final Report. A Final Report may also be re-opened for reconsideration by the Review Board at the request of the Board of Supervisors or upon initiative of the Review Board when such reconsideration is in the public interest.

San Diego County Civil Service Commission Rule XV provides peace officers with a means to request an Administrative Appeal of CLERB “Sustained” findings, by filing a written request with the Civil Service Commission within fifteen (15) days of receipt of the CLERB finding.

Other Functions:

  • Establish necessary rules and regulations for the conduct of its business, subject to approval of the Board of Supervisors.
  • Annually inspect county adult detention facilities and annually file a report of such visitations together with pertinent recommendations with the Board of Supervisors, the Presiding Judge of the Superior Court, the Sheriff, the Board of Corrections and the Attorney General. (Note:  This function is not currently being accomplished by CLERB, because Sheriff’s Detention Facilities are visited annually by the San Diego County Grand Jury.)


1)  Review Board Meetings, Findings, Minutes, Workload Reports

2)  2013 Annual Report

3)  2012 Annual Report

4)  2011 Annual Report


1)  San Diego County Ordinance 7880 N.S.

2)  San Diego County Charter

3)  San Diego County Code of Administrative Ordinances

4)  CLERB Rules and Regulations

5)  San Diego County Civil Service Commission Rule XV

6)  CLERB Brochure

7)  CLERB Executive Officer Job Description

8)  CLERB Special Investigator Job Description

9)  CLERB Administrative Secretary III

10) Complaint Form