The Kern County Sheriff’s Department has agreed to collaborate with a community-led advisory council, officials announced on Tuesday. It will be the first of its kind for the county.
Arleana Waller, the founder of MLK CommUNITY, led the initiative to create the advisory council. She said the main goal is to have a diverse panel of community members to review policies within the department.
“A lot of the ones that said yes have been boots on the ground for 10, 15, 20 years so they’re going to bring a lot of that experience to the table,” Waller said of the community members. “And we’re going to hear information in a way maybe we’ve never heard before so that we can have solutions we’ve never had before.”
But getting to this point wasn’t easy. Waller said it took about a month of conversations before the Sheriff’s Department agreed to participate. Still, she said, both parties are now on the same page.
“We want to be able to get some laws changed that will allow the sheriffs to be able to do their work in a more transparent manner,” she said. “We want to be able to say ‘hey, this is what you're doing wrong in the community. Let’s address that.’”
Isaiah Crompton will play an active role on the advisory council, Waller said. The first meeting will take place at the end of July. Meetings that follow will be made available to the public through zoom.