DOJ Finds Deficiencies in San Diego PD's Approach to Misconduct Cases

The department had volunteered to undergo the review by the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services following a series of misconduct incidents over the course of five years.

The U.S. Department of Justice's Office of Community Oriented Policing Services has completed its assessment of the San Diego Police Department's policies and practices for preventing, detecting, and investigating misconduct, and its report identifies deficiencies in recruiting practices, supervision and training of officers, accountability systems, and mechanisms for reviewing citizen complaints and leadership. The department volunteered to undergo the review by the COPS Office following a series of misconduct incidents over the course of five years.

"Our goal with this report began with identifying deficiencies in policies, practices, or organizational culture that allowed misconduct to occur and to go undetected for years in San Diego," said COPS Office Director Ronald Davis. "We see this report as a blueprint for reforms and for building on the reform efforts already undertaken by former Chief William Lansdowne and Chief Shelley Zimmerman."

COPS announced the beginning of the Critical Response Technical Assistance review in March 2014; the report focuses on 17 cases of misconduct and includes a review of how those cases were handled and of the department's policies and accountability system. It recommends a comprehensive approach to all aspects of policing that can help prevent misconduct, including the training and supervision of officers, recruitment and selection of new officers, accountability mechanisms, internal investigations, and disciplinary practices.

"We requested and welcomed this assessment from the Department of Justice COPS Office," Zimmerman said. "The numerous recommendations they have made will only help us improve our department and the proud service we provide to our community."

The report, "Critical Response Technical Assistance Review—Police Accountability: Findings and National Implications of an Assessment of the San Diego Police Department," is available here.

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