A year-long, independent review of the San Diego Police Department found serious gaps in supervision and discipline that allowed officer sexual misconduct and other offenses to go undetected for months and even years, reports U-T Sandiego. Auditors offered 40 recommendations to correct systemic flaws. Police Chief Shelley Zimmerman said she plans to implement every recommendation, as funding allows. “We view this as the beginning, the beginning of constantly seeking improvement,” Zimmerman said.
The review by the Police Executive Research Forum, overseen by the U.S. Justice Department's Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS), focused on recruiting and hiring; supervision and training; accountability, early intervention, internal investigations and discipline; and community partnerships. It cited weaknesses in policies and practices, especially reliance on acting sergeants as squad supervisors who receive little extra training and lack access to officers' discipline records. The review recommended that when staffing and budget permit, the department should promote full-time sergeants who stick with a team of officers and are accountable for their discipline processes. Other issues in the review included inconsistent handling of citizen complaints, poor tracking of how complaints are resolved, inadequate mentoring and ethics training, and lack of diversity in hiring.