San Diego Police Department’s internal oversight and officer monitoring has been cut in recent years in order to maintain core functions like patrol and homicide investigations. That shift has provided greater latitude for misbehavior to go unnoticed, a number of current or recently retired police officers told us.
Since Bill Lansdowne became police chief, the department has eliminated a full-time alcohol counselor and disbanded a unit that proactively investigated police misconduct. At the same time, officers say, budget cuts have led the department to shift greater responsibility on supervisors. That’s saved it from having to cut patrols, but could also leave supervisors too busy to notice bad behavior. And, as our Keegan Kyle reports, the unit responsible for monitoring officer stress and health has also been cut significantly.
Ten officers have been accused of serious misconduct or crimes, including alcohol-related crimes and rape under the color of authority.
Preschool Inspections on the Decline
Preschools in San Diego and statewide used to be visited by inspectors every year. Then it got bumped down to every three years. Now, inspectors are supposed to visit every preschool or child care facility once every five years, but strain to accomplish even that.
Education reporter Emily Alpert surveys the state of preschool inspection here and says that it leaves our children less protected than those elsewhere. California now ranks at or near the bottom in national surveys for inspector caseload and in child care oversight.
“Things can really deteriorate. Broken toys. Broken fences. Guns being left out — not deliberately, but people forget,” one expert said.
• In a comment on the story, UCSD doctoral student and former VOSD education reporter Vlad Kogan wrote that increasing inspections would require cutting something else. “Is there any evidence that quality/safety went down when inspections were rolled back from annual to once every five years? If not, what’s the big deal?” he said.
That’s a good question. Experts say it leaves the door open for troubles. But we’re working to try to answer it and looking for specific cases. Let us know if you have any thoughts or experiences to share.
Looking Back at SDSU Prez’s Legacy
As SDSU President Stephen Weber steps aside after 15 years, he leaves behind a campus that is to a large degree a reflection of himself, the Los Angeles Times’ Tony Perry writes.
There’s the bustling construction, increased GPAs for incoming freshmen, much-improved graduation rates and even recent football and basketball success. Plus, the Times says, Weber has worked with the local business community to change instruction so that graduates are ready to help local industry.
His longevity, one source said, “shows that he has succeeded in that most difficult of tasks: satisfying the needs and demands of the media, the faculty Senate, the California State University trustees, the alumni and the local community.”
Missing in Iraq
He was a colonel in Saddam Hussein’s army who fled in 1991 and settled in San Diego. Abbas Kareem Naama, also known as Tim, and his wife became U.S. citizens. In 2003, he returned to his home country to take part in its rebuilding.
And he’s been missing since 2005. The New York Times tells Naama’s story as one of the handful of American men missing in Iraq while the U.S. military shifts responsibilities to civilian commands there.
“I still believe he’s somewhere,” Naama’s wife says. “I am sure.”
The Redistricting Roughhousing Roundup & The Best of the Rest
• The big political story of last week: The accusations by a GOP private investigator that one member of San Diego’s Redistricting Commission now lives in Los Angeles. We rounded up all the opinions on what was, well, an opinion-heavy discourse that included calls for resignation and calls of racism.
• By far the most popular story of the week: The one about illegal chickens forced into hiding. Check out that and the other nine most read of the week.
KPBS’ Programming Changes Start Today
Today’s the day KBPS’ major programming changes to into effect. That means no more “These Days” at 9 a.m. (it’s now “Midday Edition” and at noon) and no more classical music at night, among a host of other changes.
Cheers to Photos and Beer!
In the latest edition of VOSD Radio, I chat with our photographer Sam Hodgson abouthow he’s come to see San Diego differently through the photo lens, his favorite assignments and his new book. He also did a bang-up job on the Hero and Goat of the Week.
He handed out his Hero of the Week to his hometown of Escondido’s big growing business, Stone Brewery, which last week announced plans to builda hotel next to its North County restaurant and brewery, operate an organic farm and open a restaurant just down the street from our office in Liberty Station.
In related news, our Chief Operating Officer for Employee Productivity has begun a search for a new office.