Beginning in December 2004, OIR's attorneys have taken turns posting a regular column that reports to the public in a new way. These essays are shorter and slightly less formal than other public reports OIR generates. Like the other reports, however, they are meant to offer independent insight into the workings of the Sheriff's Department.
In our three years of operation, the Office of Independent Review has reported on its work in several ways. Our web-site includes our first three annual reports, which are intended to be a year-end review of systemic issues that emanate from our oversight function. We also periodically post on our web-site a chart of each internal affairs investigation reviewed by us, our assessment of the investigation, our recommendations on case disposition and discipline, and LASD’s disciplinary decision. In order to further our goal of communication and promotion of transparency, we have initiated another feature: on an ongoing basis one of the OIR attorneys will post a short essay on our website that is intended to address issues that arise during our work as the oversight entity for LASD. We are hopeful that members of LASD and the public will find these essays helpful in furthering information and dialogue on matters of common interest. To that end, as always, we welcome any thoughts and reactions from you.


The Office of Independent Review ("OIR") is a civilian oversight group that was created by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors and began its work in 2001. The mission of OIR is to monitor the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department ("LASD") and provide legal advice to ensure that allegations of officer misconduct involving LASD are investigated in thorough, fair, and effective ways.

OIR consists of six attorneys with backgrounds in criminal law and civil rights issues. Chief Attorney Michael Gennaco spent several years with the United States Department of Justice, and more recently was in charge of the civil rights section of the United States Attorney's Office in Los Angeles. Mr. Gennaco and the other attorneys of OIR work with LASD on a daily basis, but not for LASD. Instead, OIR is specifically designed to be an independent entity. OIR has the freedom to arrive at its own conclusions and, if necessary, to challenge the department with regard to specific practices or incidents.

LASD and the Board of Supervisors have taken steps to make sure that OIR is able to make a meaningful contribution to the integrity and efficiency of misconduct investigations. OIR has full access to relevant documents, meetings, and personnel within LASD. It has a close working relationship with LASD's Internal Affairs Bureau and Internal Criminal Investigations Bureau and is able to participate in ongoing investigations as needed in order to promote their effectiveness. OIR also looks at broader LASD policies and practices and makes recommendations where appropriate to enhance both officer performance and the safeguarding of individual rights.

As it carries out its responsibilities, OIR maintains contacts with state and federal prosecutors, as well as civil rights groups and community organizations. OIR also welcomes the information, insight, or concerns that any individual would like to share.

Members of the Office of Independent Review:

Michael Gennaco, Chief Attorney
Julie Ruhlin, Deputy Chief Attorney
Angelica Arias, Attorney
Bita Shasty, Attorney
Cynthia Hernandez, Attorney
Diana Teran, Attorney
Walter Katz, Attorney



OIR hopes the following short essays will enhance its efforts
to provide greater transparency and heightened 
understanding about LASD.











"The following article by OIR attorney Ray Jurado addresses the potential implications of the 'harm to public service' doctrine as it applies to discipline of police officers. As the article describes, courts have recognized that a range of misconduct -- even when occurring off-duty -- can reflect so poorly on the officer and his employing agency that discharge is warranted. The article appears in the July-August 2005 edition of Los Angeles Lawyer magazine, and OIR appreciates the opportunity to reprint it here."







The Standard of Review in Public Employee Discipline




The Harm to Public Service Standard in Police Misconduct Cases




Toward Increased Transparency 
in the Jails and Prisons: 
Some Optimistic Signs




The Myth of the Ruthless Investigator:
Clarifying the Discipline Process




The Lying Dilemmas




Questioning Assumptions: 
An Evidence Based Approach to 
allegations of Policy Violations




Core Values for Overseers? 
An Initiating Discussion