The Morning Report
San Diego news and info
you need to take on the day.

This post has been updated.

We have a great panel lined up Tuesday night to discuss the future of the San Diego Police Department. It starts at 6 p.m. at Cherokee Point Elementary in City Heights.

Here are four of the biggest questions that we’ll tackle:

Does SDPD have a bunch of rotten apples or a rotten barrel?

In recent years, roughly 15 officers have been arrested or otherwise accused of serious misconduct issues ranging from DUIs to sexual assault.

City police and legal officials have said these are rogue officers who the department roots out when they’re discovered. But attorneys for a SDPD sexual misconduct victim argue the department has a culture that allows problem officers to escape punishment.

A federal judge ruled earlier this month there’s evidence of a code of silence in the department.

What kind of oversight does the department need?

SDPD has invited the U.S. Department of Justice to review its handling of misconduct cases and other policies. Some police accountability experts say an independent monitor should implement changes.

Currently, SDPD also has a citizens review board, which examines police internal investigations.

How big of a problem is officer recruitment and retention?

In the next four years, about half the 1,800-member police force is eligible to retire. Not only that, in California it’s easy for cops to move to other departments offering higher pay and benefits. What would a dramatic turnover in officers mean for public safety in the city, and what can be done about it?

The department is proposing a lot of reforms to deal with all this stuff. Will they work?

Aside from the DOJ review, new Chief Shelley Zimmerman wants to:

reinstate an internal anti-corruption unit;

• outfit all patrol officers with body cameras;

• create a mandatory reporting policy for officers aware of misconduct issues involving their peers; and

• restart data collection efforts to monitor racial profiling.

Last year, the city allocated $2 million for an officer retention package. In his new budget, Mayor Kevin Faulconer is proposing to put more than $3 million toward officer pay hikes and also increase the size of police academies, according to U-T San Diego.

Here’s the final roster for the panel:

• City Attorney Jan Goldsmith, who has the defended SDPD against lawsuits from police misconduct victims

• Joshua Chanin, a public affairs professor at San Diego State University and an expert in police accountability

• Johanna Schiavoni, an attorney and president of Lawyers Club of San Diego, which advocates for the advancement of women in law and society

• Jim Herrera, vice chairman of the San Diego Citizens’ Review Board on Police Practices

And one final reason to come to the panel: Delicioso Food Truck will be there. The event is free with preferred seating for VOSD members.

Update: ACLU San Diego’s Margaret Dooley-Sammuli is no longer attending.

Liam Dillon

Liam Dillon was formerly a senior reporter and assistant editor for Voice of San Diego. He led VOSD’s investigations and wrote about how regular people...

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.