Thursday, June 2, 2011
Police misconduct complaints in San Diego have risen steadily over the years.
SAN DIEGO In 2010 there were 2,427 police misconduct complaints recorded by the San Diego Police Department. That’s up from 1,774 in 2006. But SDPD Legal Counsel Paul Cooper said the department changed its reporting system about three years ago when it began separating complaints into two different categories based on how serious they are. Cooper said that may have resulted in more less serious complaints being formally documented. In 2010 there were 2,356 complaints that were classified as being less serious, things like procedure and courtesy complaints. There were 71 cases that were considered more serious.
Cooper said he knows people want an explanation for the recent spate of misconduct cases.
"I don’t have any good answer for that," he said. "I certainly think the ones that are criminal misconduct are simply abhorrent behavior by individuals who happen to be police officers."
The majority of citizen complaints are resolved through officers in the field. The rest are referred to Internal Affairs.
In 2010, the Internal Affairs unit investigated 82 cases, consistent with previous years. 45 of those cases included allegations of criminal conduct, force, arrest, discrimination or the use of slurs.
Cooper said misconduct is usually found to have occurred in about 10 percent of cases.