Chief Addressed Cop Misconduct

By Michelle Wayland and R. Stickney
|  Tuesday, May 10, 2011  |  Updated 11:18 AM PDT
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That's the question now being asked of the San Diego Police Department after court documents were released to the media.

That's the question now being asked of the San Diego Police Department after court documents were released to the media.

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A San Diego police officer has been arrested for a DUI accident in Chula Vista, according to police.

Officer William Johnson, a 12-year veteran on the force, was arrested about 11 p.m. Saturday, according to Captain Gary Wedge.

Johnson was allegedly driving his personal vehicle on Telegraph Canyon Road when he rear-ended a vehicle at a stoplight at Paseo Ladera, Wedge said.

Johnson was arrested for DUI and released Sunday morning on his own recognizance, police said.

In light of Johnson's arrest and a series of other incidents where active duty police officers have been accused of or charged with criminal conduct, Chief William Lansdowne discussed a plan to combat officer misconduct cases during a news conference Tuesday morning.

The charges levied against current and former San Diego police officers range from driving under the influence to stalking to sexual battery under the color of authority. 

March 11: Anthony Arevalos, 40, an 18-year veteran of the San Diego Police Department, is arrested on multiple charges for accused sexual battery, false imprisonment and assault under the color of authority stemming from traffic stops between 2009 and 2011. Arevalos was fired by the department after formal charges were filed.

March 4: A SDPD officer resigned from the department citing personal reasons after he had been suspended without pay and accused of raping a Point Loma Nazarene University student. NBCSanDiego is not identifying the officer because he has not been formally charged with a crime.

April 11: A 24-year veteran officer is placed under investigation for a dispute with neighbors. The incident reportedly involved the off-duty officer and two teens smoking pot. The San Diego Police Department conducted a personnel investigation, which has been submitted to the San Diego District Attorney's Office for review. The officer has been placed on paid administrative assignment. NBCSanDiego is not identifying the officer because he has not been formally charged with a crime.

February: Veteran San Diego police Sgt. Ken Davis is formally charged with one felony and three misdemeanor charges stemming from accusations he stalked a female officer and repeatedly harassed her with unwanted phone calls and other contact. Davis pleaded not guilty, and the judge has allowed him to remain free on his own recognizance. He’s on paid administrative duty.

February 22: A San Diego police officer, whose name has not been released, is under investigation for allegedly causing a traffic accident in Serra Mesa while intoxicated and fleeing the scene. CHP officers said the reporting driver told emergency dispatchers she believed she “was just hit by a DUI driver.” The case has been referred to the District Attorney’s office for further review.  NBCSanDiego is not identifying the officer because he has not been formally charged with a crime.

March 24: The San Diego Union Tribune reports that a San Diego police officer was taken into custody by San Diego County sheriff's deputies after a dispute at his home in Imperial Beach. The officer was reportedly arrested on suspicion of domestic battery.

In an interview on April 14, Lansdowne said of the recent investigations: "It's certainly an embarrassment to the police department, but it's certainly not indicative of the great work the officers have done for the past 122 years here in the city of San Diego."

He said the department has been as transparent as possible in making sure no one is above the law.

"We've done absolutely the right thing. We've taken them to the district attorney, and they're working on criminal complaints. It is exactly what we should do," he said.

In an announcement released Monday afternoon, Lansdowne's "Early Identification and Intervention System" plan would add training for supervisors, additional officers to the internal affairs unit and review use of force tactics and discipline.

NBCSanDiego will cover the news conference scheduled for Tuesday at 11 a.m.

Is enough being done to address alleged police misconduct? Let us know what you think. Comment below, send us your thoughts via Twitter @nbcsandiego or add your comment to our Facebook page.

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