National City police officers monitor a City Council meeting. / Photo by Vito Di Stefano

Jan. 1, 2019, marked the start of a new law opening up certain police misconduct records to the public. So, starting on Jan. 2, the records just started flowing, right?

Not so much.

As Jesse Marx writes in a new piece examining the new law’s impact one year in, “Ensuring that police agencies would abide by the new law in 2019 required the time and resources of many dozens of media outlets and other interest groups. By and large, the courts in California have sided with the press, arguing that the public has a right to know how law enforcement polices itself.”

Eight San Diego-area police unions tried to block the law, but were forced to comply by the court. 

The San Diego County Sheriff’s Department, meanwhile, for a time tried to charge media outlets hundreds of thousands of dollars to obtain records. It was only once they were called out publicly that Sheriff Bill Gore reversed course.

So what have the records that have actually been released shown? A sampling: “One Chula Vista officer had sex near a school while he was in uniform, NBC San Diego reported. He resigned before the chief could fire him. … Multiple media outlets reported on a deputy who was arrested in 2018 for groping a teen in a Panda Express and another who allegedly groped a homeless woman. Both officers resigned. Two others were fired for allegedly sexually assaulting women.”

Looking Back …

We’ve been looking back at the past year in a few different ways. 

Our multimedia team put together a list of our best photos from 2019 and the stories behind them.

And in case you missed them, check out our staff picks for our favorite stories of the year, and the ways in which VOSD reporting changed San Diego.

We’re not the only ones thinking about what 2019 brought San Diego this year. The Union-Tribune notes that local immigration courts’ caseload has tripled over the past year, and the paper also examined changes in Oceanside and Escondido. It named Assemblywoman Shirley Weber its person of the year. Times of San Diego ranked the best local theater of the year.

… and Forward

KPBS rounded up business stories to watch in 2020.

NBC San Diego has a primer on new laws going into effect on Jan. 1.

In Other News

  • Yet another lawsuit – the 24th so far – has been filed against former Sheriff’s Deputy Richard Fisher, who recently pleaded guilty to several felony counts of assault and battery. (NBC San Diego)
  • An Alpha Project security guard was shot and killed outside an East Village homeless shelter on Saturday. (10News)
  • San Diego deserved better than what has become of its stadium and the team that abandoned its home.” (Los Angeles Times)

The Morning Report was written by Sara Libby, and edited by Scott Lewis.

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