The Chula Vista Police Department announced today that another San Diego police officer is under criminal investigation. The case has been referred to prosecutors for possible charges, police said, but other details are scarce at this point.
Chula Visa police said they contacted an off-duty San Diego police officer May 20 “based on observations made by another motorist.” Police did not identify the officer or provide any other information about the incident. The officer has not been arrested, police said.
San Diego Police spokeswoman Lt. Andra Brown told Fox 5 that the 19-year veteran has been placed on unpaid administrative leave while the department conducts its own internal investigation.
With the announcement, the officer becomes the 11th San Diego police officer currently under criminal or internal investigation. The allegations against the officers include drunken driving, harassment, assault, excessive force, theft, domestic violence, sexual assault and rape.
Mayor Jerry Sanders and Police Chief Bill Lansdowne have called the spike in alleged misconduct a public embarrassment and a signal of greater problems in the department. Four days before the penultimate incident, the chief unveiled a seven-point plan to address it.
Last week, Lansdowne also said he would expand alcohol counseling resources in response to recent events. Before today’s announcement, two officers had been arrested on charges of felony drunk driving and one of them had enrolled in a treatment facility, according to court records.
Police and researchers have pointed to numerous factors behind the recent spike, including more stress among officers, reduced supervision and the fewer resources for internal oversight. Shortly after he became the city’s police chief in 2003, for example, Lansdowne disbanded a unit aimed at proactively investigating serious or criminal misconduct among officers. In 2004, he dropped the position of full-time drug and alcohol counselor and shifted the responsibility to two part-time assignments.
Brown said she will be available for questions about the new case this afternoon. If police release more information, I’ll write another post on this blog.