"It's an insult to the professionalism of the investigators working that assignment," said Jim Unland. "Further, it is an exaggerated and bastardized interpretation of the word 'friend.' "
Kelli Evans, associate director at the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California, said Cordell's proposal is "completely reasonable."
"There is an apparent conflict of interest whether the 'friends' are real or only exist in the virtual world," Evans said. "Their job is to conduct full, fair and unbiased investigations. That function is so critical that they have to be above the fray. And this calls in to question their ability to be unbiased."
Pierce Murphy, a police oversight expert who oversees the Boise, Idaho, police department, said that the proposal brings up a larger issue.
"How do internal investigators deal with the inherent conflict of having to investigate people who they have worked with, side by side, for years or with whom they could even be personal friends?"
Contact Sean Webby at 408-920-5003.