UPDATED Media Release: Civilian oversight panel for the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department elected new leadership



August 17, 2018

Civilian oversight panel for the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department elected new leadership

Los Angeles – The L.A. County Sheriff Civilian Oversight Commission has elected new leadership. Patricia Giggans has been elected to serve as chair, and Priscilla Ocen has been approved as the vice chair. The Commission works to boost transparency and increase trust between communities and the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department.


Giggans was appointed to the Commission in December 2016 and has served on the Family Assistance and Communication and the Mental Evaluation Team Program Ad Hoc Committees. She has been the Executive Director of Peace Over Violence since 1985. She achieved a bachelor’s degree in Psychology and a master’s degree in Non-profit Management. A black belt in Karate and master self-defense trainer, she founded Karate Women, the first martial arts school in Southern California in 1976. Giggans also founded Denim Day, an international sexual violence prevention education campaign.

Giggans has held numerous statewide and national leadership and advisory positions in the sexual assault and domestic violence arena, including the California Domestic Violence Advisory Council, 1in6, The Trauma Resource Institute, the Center for Council and The Joyful Heart Foundation. She is the former President of The California Coalition Against Sexual Assault and founding Board member of the California Partnership to End Domestic Violence. 

Giggans has received the California Peace Prize, and she is a Durfee Foundation Stanton Fellow, among numerous additional awards. She has co-authored What Parents Need to Know About Teen Dating Violence, 50 Ways to A Safer World, and When Dating Becomes Dangerous: A Parent’s Guide to Preventing Relationship Abuse.  


Priscilla Ocen elected as vice chair. She was appointed to the Commission in December 2016 and has served on Ad Hoc Committees for Bail Reform, Cannabis and the Unmanned Aircraft System Program. She is a Professor of Law at Loyola Law School and teaches criminal law, family law and a seminar on race, gender and the law. Her work examines the relationship between race, gender and systems of punishment, in particular drawing attention to the ways criminalization and incarceration are used to police the reproductive choices of poor women of color.

Ocen is the co-author of the influential policy report, Black Girls Matter: Pushed Out, Overpoliced and Underprotected. Applying her work to broader advocacy efforts, she has served as a trainer for federal public defenders, assisted with the development of new programs in domestic violence centers, and strategized with community groups regarding efforts to monitor conditions of confinement in the L.A. County women’s jail.

Prior to joining the faculty at Loyola Law School, Ocen was a Critical Race Studies fellow at UCLA School of Law; a law clerk to the Honorable Eric L. Clay of the U.S Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit; and a Thurgood Marshall Fellow at the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area. She is also active in the community as she serves as a member of the board of directors for the Equal Justice Society, an organization dedicated to transforming the nation’s consciousness on race through law, social science and the arts.

“Since the inception of the Commission, Patti and Priscilla have consistently shown their passion, dedication and commitment to the mission,” said Brian K. Williams, Executive Director of the Commission.  We look forward to continuing our work to engage the community and to build transparency and accountability in the Sheriff's Department.”

The Commission also welcomes a newly appointed commissioner, Casimiro Urbano Tolentino. He is a retired Administrative Law Judge with expertise in Labor Law and former experience as a pro bono attorney for juvenile court. Tolentino was also formerly the Assistant General Counsel for the Department of Fair Employment and Housing for the State of California.

Additional commissioners include Robert C. Bonner (attorney and former U.S. Attorney and DEA Administrator); J.P. Harris (former Sheriff’s lieutenant); Sean Kennedy (executive director of Center for Juvenile Law & Policy at Loyola Law School); Lael Rubin (former Deputy District Attorney); Xavier Thompson (President of Baptist Ministers’ Conference and Senior Pastor of the Southern Saint Paul Church), and Hernán Vera (attorney and former president and CEO of Public Counsel).

Media Contact:  Jennifer Osborn, Community Information Officer
                              josborn@coc.lacounty.gov or (213) 253-5678

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Civilian Oversight Commission

Working to boost transparency and increase trust between communities and the LA County Sheriff’s Department, the Commission aims to provide robust opportunities for community engagement, ongoing analysis and oversight of the department's policies, practices, procedures, and advice to the Board of Supervisors, the Sheriff's Department and the public. For information on meetings and community engagement, visit http://coc.lacounty.gov.