San Diego, CA- According to a Police Executive Research Forum review released on Tuesday, the San Diego Police Department suffers from numerous “weaknesses” including lack of proper leadership, supervision and employee accountability which has contributed to several cases of misconduct that went undetected for years.
The review states:
On a broad level, PERF did not identify any particular policy failure or common underlying factor that tied the misconduct cases together. 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.
The report assessed 17 cases of misconduct committed by 13 officers, two sergeants, one detective and a civilian employee between 2009 and 2014. Misconduct included on-duty sexual assault; battery; “inappropriate, nonconsensual interactions” and stalking; attempted cover-ups; driving under the influence of alcohol; selling hydrocodone; shoplifting; and property damage.
Among the cases included in the review was the arrest of SDPD Officer Anthony Arevalos, who was sentenced to 8 years in prison in 2012 for eight felonies involving sexual battery and four misdemeanors. Christopher Hays, another officer who was sentenced to one year in prison after pleading guilty to felony false imprisonment and misdemeanor counts of assault and battery, was also mentioned in the report.
Bryce and Jennifer Charpentier, married SDPD officers, were charged with selling hydrocodone last summer. The couple later faced new charges of burglary and taking over a drug distribution operation. The two pleaded guilty to the charges and were sentenced to three years in jail.
The report provided 40 recommendations to improve policing. Those recommendations include strengthened background checks for prospective employees, improving the hiring process, increasing efforts made to investigating civilian complaints, and increasing supervision of employees. “The good news is that we are already making progress on many of the recommendations,” said San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer.
“None of this is a shock to me,” said SDPD Sergeant Jeff Jordon, vice president of the San Diego Police Officers Association. “Now the question is a lot of these recommendations are going to be very expensive.” The review mentioned that San Diego’s financial crisis leading to SDPD operating budget cuts contributed to an inability to properly monitor police behavior.
The full review is available to read here.