San Diego’s police department can’t police itself, say attorneys representing a victim of officer sexual misconduct. They argue the department needs an independent monitor to oversee its internal complaints and address sexual misbehavior, harassment and gender profiling allegations.
“The San Diego Police Department is incapable of taking care of its own problems at this point,” said Joseph Dicks, one of the lawyers for a woman known in court documents as Jane Doe.
Doe is a victim of former SDPD officer Anthony Arevalos, who is serving an eight-year sentence for soliciting sexual bribes from five women while on duty. Doe’s asking a federal court judge to order the independent monitor as part of her civil suit. The judge would determine the monitor’s specific terms and how long the arrangement would last.
Over the last 20 years, outside monitoring has become a go-to remedy to clean up troubled police departments. Typically, they’re installed when a department has problems with brutality or racial profiling. But they can oversee a department for any reason. The U.S. Department of Justice recently installed a monitor to supervise the police department and university police in Missoula, Mont., after allegations they failed to adequately investigate sexual assault complaints.
Doe’s lawyers say SDPD missed numerous warning signs about Arevalos’ conduct going as far back as the late 1990s, and failed to fully examine sexual misconduct complaints against him. He was known within the department for targeting young, attractive women and sent lewd photos of women he stopped to fellow officers.
Samuel Walker, a professor emeritus at the University of Nebraska at Omaha and expert on police reform, said monitors become necessary when there are failures of policy, training and supervision and inadequate reviews of officer performance. He believes SDPD needs one based on evidence from the Arevalos case.
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If filner was pushed out due to his actions, then this chief must also go. Lack of leadership is reflected a cross the board by the behavior of rank and file. They treat the public with indeference, they want free lunches, and ultimately abuse the very people they protect. Senor chief its time to break the wall of silence and for YOU to turn in your badge! We the people deserve much better! Right, Kevin?
I wrote an Op-Ed here earlier this month advocating that we give the Citizens Review Board on Police Practices actual power to do its job. This is low-hanging fruit for addressing the SDPD's failure to regulate itself. We should AT LEAST do this while we are contemplating multi-million $ fixes like body cameras and Federal monitors.