The Long Beach City Council will officially appoint its new director of police oversight at its Sept. 12 meeting, Mayor Rex Richardson announced Friday.
The council will vote Tuesday to name Francine Kerridge, a former sheriff deputy and most recently, the inspector general for the county of Sacramento, to lead the recently formed Police Oversight Commission.
Kerridge will be charged with monitoring the Long Beach Police Department for systemic issues, making recommendations for changes to the department and potentially investigating high-profile allegations of police misconduct. She will also report to the newly formed Police Oversight Commission, which has yet to hold its first meeting since being approved by voters in November’s election.
Richardson announced the pending appointment in a statement Friday where he said Kerridge was the best candidate out of the 86 people who applied for the position during the city’s nationwide search for a director.
“We are honored to have her join the city team at this pivotal moment in our city’s history and look forward to her leadership and expertise to cultivate a community of stronger public trust and accountability,” Richardson said in a statement.
Kerridge was appointed as the Sacramento County inspector general in August 2022 by Sacramento’s board of supervisors and before that served as a deputy sheriff in Contra Costa County. She later became the director of Sacramento’s Office of Public Safety, where she served in a similar role to what she will do in Long Beach.
In a statement, Kerridge said she was grateful for the opportunity to lead the city’s new department.
“I’m excited to dive into getting to know the community and working together with the community and police to build trust through police transparency and accountability.”
The new commission was created when voters approved an overhaul of the existing Citizens Police Complaint Commission in the November election. About 60% of voters approved the creation of the new Police Oversight Commission and the disbanding of the CPCC, which stopped receiving new cases to review at the end of 2022.
The new director position will have the ability to investigate complaints against the police chief, command staff and even major use of force incidents resulting in great bodily injury or death, but first the city manager would have to authorize it.
While CPCC commissioners reviewed parallel investigations into alleged police misconduct, the new commissioners will serve in an advisory role to the new director who will provide annual reports to the commission and audit the police department’s practices, something that will rely in part on commissioners’ recommendations for areas of focus.
The CPCC had come under fire in recent years with current and former commissioners as well as members of the public complaining that the body had no “teeth,” and when it did make recommendations to discipline officers, those votes were overruled by city management.
CPCC commissioners held the authority to subpoena witnesses but almost never used that power, partially due to a lack of clarity over if they could. The 11-member CPCC will be replaced by a seven-member body that will act as a public outreach arm and give guidance to the director for policy areas to audit on a year-to-year basis.
Similar to the city’s old model, city management will retain the ultimate authority over when and how officers will be disciplined under the new commission model.
City officials championed the changes as a way to allow its oversight body to have more access to police files that the CPCC did not have the authority to review. The director will be able to access internal police files as they audit systemic trends within the department and suggest changes that could be made.
The city said it expected it might take a full year to implement the new commission including the appointment of new commissioners and finishing negotiations with LBPD’s union representatives for how the new body and its director will work with the department.
During a public meeting in July, city officials said they expected that the new commissioners could be appointed and the body could be up and running by the end of this year or early 2024.