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Tracking Officer Discipline Records in San Diego County

Law enforcement discipline records that were once kept private are now releasable under state law. See how San Diego County’s agencies are responding to NBC 7 Investigates.

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    Tracking Officer Discipline Records in San Diego County
    San Diego Police officers on-scene of a homicide in Lincoln Park on February 25, 2019. A Judge has halted the release of San Diego Police discipline records.

    This story will be updated if and when San Diego County law enforcement agencies release new records.

    Starting this year, the public is granted access to police department internal investigations that were once kept private. The release of disciplinary records and the findings of some internal department investigations, including incidents where officers used force or were accused of sexual misconduct, is authorized by Senate Bill 1421.

    Since the law took effect, NBC 7 Investigates has tried to obtain law enforcement discipline and use of force records from agencies throughout San Diego County.

    Eight local unions representing police officers have sued to stop the release of these records under the new law. This led to a Judge temporarily halting the records' release until the matter is settled in court.

    Judge Halts Release of Police Discipline Records

    [DGO] Judge Halts Release of Police Discipline Records

    Eight police agencies throughout the county will not release information about police misconduct. NBC 7's Mari Payton has more on the new state law that requires those records to be public.

    (Published Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2019)

    NBC 7 and five other media organizations are now intervening in that case to defend the public’s interest in seeing these records. The next hearing on the case is this Friday.

    Agencies that are not included in the Judge’s order have started to release these records.

    Below is how every law enforcement agency in San Diego County has responded to our requests (listed in alphabetical order):

    California Highway Patrol - San Diego Sector

    On February 1, the CHP’s Office of Risk Management said the San Diego Sector of the CHP had no use of force or officer discipline investigations in the last ten years or since January 1, 2009, therefore no records were released.

    Cal State University San Marcos Police

    CSU San Marcos Police Department said their agency has had no use of force or officer discipline investigations in the last ten years or since January 1, 2009, therefore no records were released.

    Carlsbad Police Department

    Prior to a Judge's order halting the department's release of records, the Carlsbad Police Department released internal documents surrounding the termination of two Police Officers. According to the records, Officer Jesse Flores was terminated in 2012 for falsifying work-related records and giving false or misleading statements. Officer Taryn Sisco was terminated in 2013 for falsifying work-related records and for dishonesty in an official capacity. NBC 7’s attempt to reach Officers Flores and Sisco were unsuccessful. To read the records, click here.

    Chula Vista Police Department

    The Chula Vista Police department released records surrounding the termination of Police Officer Michael Ingley. According to the records, Ingley admitted to having consensual sex while on-duty. Ingley’s attorney did not respond to NBC 7’s request for comment. To read more about the case and see the records, click here

    Coronado Police Department

    The Coronado Police Department said their agency has had no use of force or officer discipline investigations in the last ten years or since January 1, 2009, therefore no records were released. NBC 7 amended the request to go back as far as January 1, 2004, and the department said they have records responsive to our request but now, they must abide by a Judge’s order and not release the records until the legal matter is resolved.

    El Cajon Police Department

    On January 28, 2019, the El Cajon Police Department said the department had records responsive to the request and expected to release them within 11 weeks. A week later, the department said they would abide by a Judge’s order and not release the records. “Until the legal question of retroactive application...is concluded, we have determined that the public interest in accessing these records is clearly outweighed by the public’s interest in protecting privacy rights,” said Barbara Luck, the city’s staff attorney.

    Escondido Police Department

    The Escondido Police Department was the first law enforcement agency in San Diego County to release discipline records. Among the records was an internal review of the 2009 accidental shooting death of Jennifer Favreau. To read more about the Favreau case and see the records, click here.

    In addition, the Escondido Police Department released records on seven use-of-force incidents since 2009. To read more about those cases, click here

    La Mesa Police Department

    On January 25, the La Mesa Police Department said they were still searching for and redacting records responsive to our request. No release date was given.

    Mira Costa Community College District’s Police Department

    On January 25, spokesperson for the District called NBC 7’s request vague but said they found, “no documents responsive to the request exist.”

    Oceanside Police Department

    The Oceanside Police Department told NBC 7 they have records responsive to the request but are abiding by the judge’s court order to halt their release. Hector Gomez with the City Clerk’s office wrote by email, “When that court order is lifted, the City will comply with the request by producing all non-exempt responsive records.”

    San Diego Harbor Police Department

    The San Diego Harbor Police Department released records detailing one officer’s use-of-force incident from 2015. The records detail the internal investigation of San Diego Harbor Patrol Officer Sulimoni Ahfook’s fatal shooting of Anthony Ashford, a suspect who tried to grab Ahfook’s gun. According to the documents, the internal investigation concluded all of Ahfook’s actions were justified. To read the records, click here.

    San Diego Police Department

    The City of San Diego said they expected to release San Diego Police Department records on March 11, 2019. This has since been delayed, as the city wrote on February 7, 2019, that they will be abiding by the Judge’s stay order and will not release the records until the matter is settled in court.

    San Diego County District Attorney’s Office

    A spokesperson for the District Attorney’s office said the agency has had no attorney discipline investigations in the last ten years or since January 1, 2009, therefore no records were released.

    San Diego County Probation Department

    A spokesperson for the San Diego County Probation Department said the department found records responsive to our request. Initially, the department said it intended to charge NBC 7 for the salary of the employee who extracts the records before releasing them to the public. The department has since walked that back, saying they will not charge for the time it takes to prepare the records. The department expects to begin releasing documents in March.

    San Diego County Sheriff’s Department

    The San Diego County Sheriff’s Department initially told NBC 7 that it would charge tens of thousands of dollars to release the audio, photo, and video evidence from investigations into allegations of deputy sexual misconduct. Sheriff Bill Gore has since walked that back, saying they will not charge for the time it takes to redact records.

    In the meantime, the Sheriff’s Department has released documents detailing three deputies that were terminated for sexual misconduct. Timothy Wilson Jr. pleaded guilty to inappropriately touching a teenage girl while she was waiting in line at a Panda Express restaurant in Vista. Records show investigators suspected Wilson may have been involved in two additional sexual battery cases out of Carlsbad. Wilson’s attorney did not respond to NBC 7’s request for comment. Carlsbad Police say their investigation into the 2017 incidents has been suspended, pending new evidence. To read more about the story and see the records, click here

    Sheriff Deputy Juan Andrade was forced to resign after an internal investigation determined he fondled a homeless woman who was the alleged victim of an assault in a transient encampment. Andrade did not respond to NBC 7’s request for comment. To read more about the story and see the records, click here.

    Sheriff Deputy Robert Toohey was terminated after an internal investigation found evidence of misdemeanor sexual battery. The District Attorney’s office did not file criminal charges. NBC 7’s attempt to reach Deputy Toohey was unsuccessful. To read the records, click here

    SDSU Police Department

    An SDSU Police Department spokesperson said their agency has had no use of force or officer discipline investigations in the last ten years or since January 1, 2009, therefore no records were released. 

    SDUSD Police Department

    Nine days after the law went into effect, the San Diego Unified School District said they expected records on officer discipline and use-of-force investigations within ten weeks. Then, on February 12, legal counsel for the school district told NBC 7, “We will not be producing any responsive documents to your request until we receive further instruction from the Court.” 

    UCSD Police Department

    A UCSD Police Department spokesperson said their agency has had no use of force or officer discipline investigations in the last ten years or since January 1, 2009, therefore no records were released.

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