Mayor Eric Garcetti today appointed Sandra Figueroa-Villa, the long-time director of El Centro del Pueblo in Echo Park, to the police commission as part of what is described a “shake-up” of the board that oversees the LAPD.
Figueroa-Villa, a resident of Eagle Rock, was one of the new members named to the commission by newly elected Mayor Garcetti. Other new appointees include developer Steve Soboroff, former journalist Paula Madison and law professor Kathleen Kim. The only current member of the commission to be retained by Garcetti was Robert Saltzman, a USC professor.
Figueroa-Villa has served as executive director of El Centro Del Pueblo for more than 30 years, overseeing an expansion of the nonprofit into a variety of social services ranging from gang intervention and recreation programs to job training and counseling services. Figueroa-Villa supported Garcetti during his mayoral campaign.
One of Garcetti’s first public appearances after his June election victory was a rally and press conference at El Centro’s Echo Park headquarters.
An L.A. Times story notes that Figueroa-Villa and the other new commissioners lack substantial experience in policing issues:
The shake-up of the influential body comes at a notable time for the LAPD and the commission. Emerging from more than a decade marked by sweeping reforms that were imposed on it by federal officials, the LAPD has become, once again, its own master, and the commission is fully on its own in the task of keeping the agency in check.