Of course it is good to see the new regimes at the mayors office and the police invite a probe. Obviously, there is enough malaise coming out of the agencies to warrant a probe. First of all do not forget that most in these agencies are solid public servants.
The issue is why the fight? With every example of misconduct the same agencies fought tooth and nail to deny. They called these persons who came out liars and stood behind the assailants. The City vigorously fought in denying the claims. So… someone cheats on their spouse. They get caught and totally deny it. Then they emphatically invite an audit of their practice only after their cheating has been proven. I would not congratulate that persons actions.
I hope the wrinkles in policies and personnel get worked out. I have seen more than a few clients who were on the wrong end of bad policing. My hat is off to the new regimes who seem to want to clear the mud. However, a bigger nod goes to the defense attorneys who were laughed off but kept on fighting to show the police misconduct. The defense bar (I am realizing more and more) are truly the stewards of the constitution. Read the full article below.
The U.S. attorney’s office and FBI will conduct a criminal investigation into misconduct at the San Diego Police Department, a probe that will run parallel to an independent federal audit also requested by city officials, authorities said Monday.
The criminal probe will focus on conduct in specific cases, while the audit will encompass a larger scope of police practice and policy to determine how to prevent future misconduct and restore the public’s trust in the department, authorities said.
“We believe every rock should be turned over,” said San Diego City Attorney Jan Goldsmith, who announced the criminal investigation at a downtown news conference hosted by U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy, alongside other officials.
“If, and I emphasize if, crimes have been committed in addition to those already prosecuted, the perpetrators should be brought to justice,” he said.
He said both investigations are being done at the request of the city and are voluntary.
Authorities declined to discuss further details of the criminal investigation. On the other hand, authorities said. the separate audit will be done with full transparency.
“We have to ensure we absolutely have the public trust,” said Mayor Kevin Faulconer.
The review is being conducted by the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Community Oriented Policing Services, known as COPS. It will take six to eight months to complete, at no cost to the city. All of its findings and recommendations will be made public.
Ron Davis, the COPS program’s director, promised the audit will be a “thorough, fair, independent and transparent assessment.”
The audit was requested last month by then-police Chief Bill Lansdowne after recent misconduct allegations rocked the department once again.
The review will focus on at least 15 criminal cases involving officers over the past three years, which range from DUI to rape. Auditors will not only look at the misconduct, but at the hiring process, personnel files and internal affairs investigation, to see if there were any red flags that were missed.
The audit will also touch on such larger operational areasas recruitment, hiring, training, supervision and internal investigations, said Davis, a former Oakland police officer and former East Palo Alto police chief.
The Justice Department is conducting the audit under a grant and will also use investigators from the nonprofit Police Executive Research Forum. Auditors will interview officers and citizens, observe police work and training and conduct extensive research and analysis from records.
Associate U.S. Attorney General Tony West said the effect of misconduct on a city should not be taken lightly.
“Not only have they created pain among the victims, these events sow distrust in anyone who has to think twice about seeking the assistance of or cooperating with a police officer,” he said. “And because of that, acts like this cast a shadow of doubt on all law-abiding officers, and they shake the community’s faith in their police department.”
Outreach events will also try to gauge public sentiment. Police Chief Shelley Zimmerman, who was appointed a day after Lansdowne’s retirement last month, held her first town hall meeting as chief last night and has another scheduled in City Heights on Wednesday.
She said that rather than be fearful of an audit, officers are welcoming it.
At least nine officers were investigated on criminal allegations in 2011. The most notorious was former Officer Anthony Arevalos, who is serving time in prison after being convicted of asking for sexual favors from women he stopped for traffic violations.
In response to the rash of cases in 2011, Lansdowne put several measures into place, including a bigger internal affairs unit and a confidential hotline to report misconduct.
Then, in February, Officer Christopher Hays was charged with sexual battery and false imprisonment in connection with cases involving four women. He has resigned from the department and pleaded not guilty.
The COPS program has conducted similar audits at other departments — Las Vegas, Philadelphia and Spokane, Wash. — all for use-of-force complaints.
These kinds of audits are not unprecedented, although most are prompted by police use-of-force complaints rather than allegations of sexual misconduct.
In November 2012, the Justice Department released the results of a review of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department. The study followed an investigative series on officer-involved shootings published a year earlier by the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
The newspaper reported that the agency shot and killed a record 12 people in 2011 and tied its record of 25 shootings in 2010.
At the end of its review, the Justice Department made dozens of recommendations focused on the police department’s training and procedures, including clarifying its use-of-force policies and improving radio communication between officers and dispatchers.
Similar reviews have since been initiated in Philadelphia and Spokane, Wash., also on use-of-force complaints. Such audits are generally considered to be more collaborative and less expensive than others undertaken by the Justice Department, such as a probe by the agency’s Civil Rights Division.
But that option remains available if a police department fails to act upon the recommendations. The Justice Department’s Civil Right Division could seek a federal court order that would force a police department to make changes.
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