Sacramento County still looking for a new sheriff's department watchdog

Francine Tournour directs the city of Sacramento’s Office of Public Safety & Accountability.


Good watchdogs are hard to find, apparently.

As it seeks to fill an inspector general position that went dark more than two years ago, the county of Sacramento recently extended its filing deadline by more than a month, to May 29. This isn’t a new problem, as the county couldn’t replace the independent sheriff’s department monitor after former I.G. Lee Dean resigned in March 2013. The county requested proposals from interested applicants once, didn’t hire anyone and evidently stopped looking.

Recently, SN&R revisited the empty I.G. desk, discovering that complaints against the county sheriff’s department either reached an inoperable phone line or were redirected to the department itself. The March 19 story spurred the current campaign for a new I.G. to monitor the sheriff’s department and tracks complaints against it.

County spokeswoman Chris Andis notified SN&R of the extended deadline via email, explaining that people have, in fact, responded to the job posting. But she declined to answer further questions about those applicants, “because we don’t want to discourage or sway the application process.”

Andis did reveal that the county hired Bob Murray & Associates, an executive recruitment firm, “to help us find the most qualified person.”

For those doing the math, that leaves the city of Sacramento with the only independent law-enforcement monitor in Sacramento County. Thus far, there have been no talks of expanding the role of the city’s Office of Public Safety & Accountability, which monitors the police and fire departments, to cover the county sheriff’s department, Andis said.

“I think County leadership is committed to creating a robust County oversight operation,” she wrote, “though if there were a need such as a public circumstance or case, we’d be more than happy to collaborate wherever and whenever we can.”

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