Losing the fight to keep problem-oriented policing programs alive in Sand Diego isn’t the only battle the city’s police department is waging. They are suffering with numerous cases of officer misconduct—something Mayor Jerry Sanders says is caused by a group of “absolute jerks”.
Several officers have been fired and many are facing criminal charges for everything from sexual battery to drunk driving. Many of the officers have more than a decade with the Department, leaving officials and citizens alike to wonder just how many “good” cops remain within the ranks.
According to The San Diego Union Tribune, five officers are facing charges. One was fired, ending a four year career, after he allegedly raped a prostitute after threatening her with jail time. The officer officers facing charges have all been with the force for 12 years or more and face charges for DUI, hit & run, domestic violence, stalking, and property damage.
Police Chief Lansdowne says other departments across the country are facing similar problems, questioning if the recession may be playing a role in the increase. Others point to municipal budget issues, stating departments are being forced to cut ethics training and other safeguards that typically reduce cases of misconduct.
Hiring freezes and layoffs, across the nation, have stretched patrol officers and supervisors to their limits. One expert says about middle managers like sergeants, that they “continually complain to us they are stuck doing more paperwork at their desks and are unable to go out in the street and monitor police officers.”
But one major problem is the code of silence that has existed among police ranks since the first forces were put in place. You can’t expect the department to police itself when there is an unwritten code that discourages “snitching” on your brothers and sisters within the force.
City officials are promising steps will be taken to reduce misconduct issues moving forward. Lansdowne has developed a seven point plan to combat the problem and also plans on expanding the Internal Affairs unit. A complaint line and an intervention program are also in the works.
When stories of police misconduct break the public wants to be assured that they can trust those tasked with enforcing the law and ensuring security. Cases like this often damage the relationship between officer and the community, leaving people to distrust and even fear those wearing badges.
If you are the one facing charges, you may wonder if you were treated fairly by the police. Maybe you think they handled your arrest incorrectly or searched you without cause. A local criminal defense attorney can help you determine if your rights were violated and defend you in court. Contact our California attorneys for a free consultation on your case today.