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Tuesday, June 25, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Report Takes Hard Look|at San Diego Police

SAN DIEGO (CN) - No single policy failure caused the arrests of nine San Diego police officers who were accused of sexual misconduct on duty, but a number of "weaknesses" contributed to it, the Police Executive Research Forum said in a 100-page study released Tuesday.

The "Critical Response Technical Assessment: Police Accountability - Findings and National Implications of an Assessment of the San Diego Police Department," was partly funded by the U.S. Department of Justice.

"The San Diego Police Department has been dealing with a misconduct scandal since 2011, when then Chief William Lansdowne announced a number of reform measures following the arrest of an officer for sexually assaulting women while on duty and other crimes," the report states in its Executive Summary.

Six more officers were arrested after an investigation, and by early 2014, new allegations surfaced of criminal sexual misconduct by two more officers," the report states. One of them has pleaded guilty to felony false imprisonment and misdemeanor sexual battery of four victims.

The first officer arrested, Anthony Arevalos was charged with 21 felony charges of sexually assaulting women on duty. He was convicted in November 2011 of eight crimes and sentenced in 2012 to 8 years and 8 months in prison. The city paid millions of dollars to his victims.

Chief Lansdowne asked the Justice Department's Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS Office) to review San Diego's systems for preventing and detecting misconduct and to recommend changes in policy.

"(W)e did not identify any single policy failure that resulted in the various types of mis­conduct in San Diego," the report states. "We did identify a number of weaknesses in recruiting practices, supervision and training of officers, and accountability systems such as the early identification and intervention system and the mechanisms for reviewing citizen complaints. In some instances, these weaknesses may have contributed to allowing mis­conduct in the San Diego Police Department to go undetected."

The report says that there was no particular policy failure that led to the misconduct. "Rather, it was gaps in policies and practices, a lack of consistent supervision at many levels, and a failure to hold personnel accountable that allowed misconduct to occur and go undetected for some time. Perhaps the most important lesson learned from this assessment is that the failure of the depart­ment's leaders to adequately address smaller problems led to much larger issues."

Here is a link to the report .

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