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Another SDPD Officer Faces Sex-Crime Accusation

San Diego Police Chief William Lansdowne speaks with KPBS staff before going on the air with KPBS Midday Edition, Feb. 20, 2014.
Nicholas McVicker
San Diego Police Chief William Lansdowne speaks with KPBS staff before going on the air with KPBS Midday Edition, Feb. 20, 2014.
Another SDPD Officer Faces Sex-Crime Accusation
Another SDPD Officer Faces Sex-Crime Accusation
GUEST: William Lansdowne, San Diego Police Chief

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Our top story on Midday Edition, just yesterday, the same day that Christopher Hayes resigned in the midst of sexual conduct allegations, another officer was accused of inappropriate behavior. A woman has a choose the officer of exposing himself was taking her to jail. The officer has been placed on leave. The San Diego Police Department says that these allegations are not a replay of 2011, when nine officers were invested for criminal misconduct. The most of Tori's case is that of former officer Anthony a revolution is now serving eight years in prison for sexually assaulting women at traffic stops. Still, William Lansdowne has called for an independent audit of the department examining its end internal investigations and its recruiting policies. Chief Lansdowne is joining us now. The most recent allegation was called in by a woman who saw his reports on his classic, and the allegation that she is making that incident could have happened up to a year ago, are you asking the public to report any inappropriate action with the police? WILLIAM LANSDOWNE: Absolutely, without break publicly got the most recent case and we were glad that she stepped forward, it's difficult for people who were in a situation like this to support but she felt it was important to do that and we have investigated the case, it is ongoing at right now as we cannot talk too much about it, but is a good example if we get the information we can follow up on that very quickly and take appropriate action. MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Has a hotline been established for that? WILLIAM LANSDOWNE: We put in seven different changes to the San Diego please department we had the first case with officer level us, the light was one of those, trading with all of the supervisors, change the process but that are early warning system, we have enhanced the size of the internal affairs unit, we have made a lot of changes but we're looking now at an outside auditor. MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: So when someone has had a inappropriate interaction with the police officer? How is that handled within the within the police department? WILLIAM LANSDOWNE: It goes immediately to the internal affairs department and a small group of officers look directly at the cases out of my office, they start the investigation if they feel it may be criminal it's moved over to the criminal section and they do a criminal investigation first followed up by a administration of an administrative discussion. MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Following up with the most recent allegations is a change in the policy and transporting women who have been arrested. They now want to officers present during the transport, if these allegations only concern if you add apples, why change please policy? WILLIAM LANSDOWNE: We're changing it because we are very clear that it protects both the officers and the community against allegations that are not completely true? Takes the communities that we can investigate quicker because we have that witnesses there. MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Won't that cost money to have two officers take arrestees to jail or interrogation? WILLIAM LANSDOWNE: We already have a policy for people suffering mental illness, we will take them to a mental hospital with two officers have to become part of that because they can get violent and we just enhanced that now to situations where an officer is going to transport a lone female. MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: How difficult do you think it's for a fellow officer to report that behavior of another officer? WILLIAM LANSDOWNE: They are very quick to report anything that they feel is criminal, a violation of policy, and I don't see that culture, some officers don't talk about things that are going on, but it is not thank you that culture, I don't see it, but I see is some officers operating for long periods of time and people are not aware of that, they know they are out of service but they don't know what that is for, if they saw a criminal misconduct I cannot see the case with him not immediately report them. MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: You are asking for independent audit of the police department will without audit examined? WILLIAM LANSDOWNE: They would come in, it's an outside audit and it would look at the hiring processes and back is the people go through, training received and the FDO program where they are actually the field, he would look at how do people report crimes, misconduct of any sort, and how it is investigated, and the would make a series of recommendations based on pet best practices across the country. MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Would you want the Department of Justice to be involved in this examination? WILLIAM LANSDOWNE: Very much so, that cops program is a federal organization that would come in and take a look, it's called collaborative reform and it was done in Las Vegas and now it is being done in Philadelphia and we are asked if they would come to San Diego, they have made great improvements with an organization because it's a special set of eyes on an issue. MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Had much does that audit cost? WILLIAM LANSDOWNE: The good thing about the program, there is no charge for that, it takes about 6 to 8 months for them to go through the department and meet with the community, and get all of the people invested in the program to get together and make recommendations that they think that will improve the service we provide to the city. MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: What about the idea of having a independent monitor for the San Diego Police Department that is an outside monitor that runs department and fixes the problems in it? They had the New York and see in Seattle and Oakland, would you support that? WILLIAM LANSDOWNE: Is a very expensive program, I was in Oakland and I went to Detroit, in Oakland they had eight to your contract for outside monitor calls cost $1.8 million, I believe we can do that same thing with good oversight and a future ages in a few changes. MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: The 2011 investigation happened during your watch, and new allegations of police misconduct, the think it's time to step down as police chief? WILLIAM LANSDOWNE: I am and that will employee, I have always been it up well and at will employee, that decision rests with the mayor of San Diego, but I would abide by his wishes. But it really does not matter who is the police chief, you always have misconduct. I will be aggressively taking care of all of these issues in a professional and fair manner. MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: There is an issue of trust now with some members of the community, towards the police force, that how will you fix that? WILLIAM LANSDOWNE: I believe we have done that in most cases, but the outside auditor would be the one to say here is what needed to be done to change the system so everyone is comfortable. MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Okay, thank you so much. WILLIAM LANSDOWNE: Always a pleasure, Maureen.

Police Chief William Lansdowne announced Wednesday evening that another patrolman in his department was under investigation for possible sexual misconduct involving a woman in his custody.

The disclosure about the six-year San Diego police veteran, whose name was not released, came on a day when another San Diego Police Department officer facing criminal charges for allegedly groping and demanding sexual favors from female detainees resigned.

As of late afternoon, Christopher Hays, 30, "no longer works for the San Diego Police Department,'' SDPD public-affairs Lt. Kevin Mayer said.


Lansdowne disclosed the other investigation during a hastily called briefing at downtown police headquarters. The officer in question has been placed on leave pending the outcome of the case, Lansdowne said.

Back in May 2011, nine San Diego police officers were accused of misconduct within three months. Police Chief William Lansdowne apologized for the incidents.

The alleged victim in the latest case came forward last Wednesday, initially contending that the officer who groped her and exposed himself to her following her arrest on suspicion of auto theft last year was Hays, the chief said. She later changed her identification following questioning by detectives.

Lansdowne said he was prevented by law from identifying the new suspect, because the patrolman has not been charged with a crime.

During the news conference, SDPD officials also announced a plan to require that two officers be present following the arrest of female suspects.

The change, designed to preclude sexual improprieties by officers, should go into effect over the next several days, Mayer said.


Hays pleaded not guilty on Tuesday to a pair of felony false imprisonment counts and three misdemeanor sexual battery allegations. He faces up to three years and eight months in prison if convicted.

Following Hays' arraignment, defense attorney Kerry Armstrong told reporters his client's decision to resign was by no means an indication that he had "done anything wrong.'' Armstrong said.

"He's extremely upset with the police department for not backing him in this case, and it's really hurt him,'' Armstrong said. "He's very upset about it, and he thinks that his career in law enforcement is over because of these allegations.''

Hays, a former Marine and married father of two, served with the department for four years before being arrested 10 days ago. His father-in-law is SDPD Assistant Chief Mark Jones.

The charges against Hays, who is free on $130,000 bail, involve four women he allegedly victimized between October and December of last year, according to District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis. Several of them claim that he groped them during searches, and one told investigators he forced her to perform a sex act in the back of his patrol car.

Three other women also have come forward and accused Hays of similar illegal acts. Those allegations remain under review, Dumanis said.

A preliminary hearing in the case is scheduled for April 22.

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