Samuel Morales admits he applied to become a patrol officer in the San Diego Police Department after watching an episode of “Beach Patrol” on truTV.
“That’s the place I want to work,” Morales recalled saying in 2010, then a 20-year veteran of the New York City Police Department.
Three years later, Morales patrols the division that reminds him most of New York City’s diverse boroughs: Mid-City. It’s situated just south of Interstate 8 and stretches from North Park to La Mesa, meaning the only waves Morales sees on the job are those of immigrants – Vietnamese refugees who settled there in the ’70s, Mexican immigrants who came in the ’90s, then East Africans, Burmese and Cambodians.
And there’s another similarity. Some of the neighborhood’s predominantly minority residents say they believe Morales and his colleagues engage in racial profiling akin to New York City’s controversial stop-and-frisk policy.