Justice Dept. to Review San Diego Police Dept.

The details of the assessment will be released Monday

The Justice Department says it will conduct an independent review of the San Diego Police Department as it faces officer-misconduct allegations.

The federal department announced Friday its office of Community Oriented Policing Services will conduct a thorough assessment of the department.

Details of the review will be revealed at a news conference on Monday.

Last month, Williams Lansdowne sought an outside audit of the department's policies, training and discipline before he resigned as police chief.

He left office the same day that Kevin Faulconer was sworn in as the city's new mayor. Earlier this month, Shelley Zimmerman was appointed the city's first female police chief.

"Having the community's trust is critically important, so that's why we're in complete support of the assessment," Zimmerman told NBC 7, adding that she'll have more remarks at Monday's press conference.

Faulconer said the audit is something he fully supports and was requested by the police department. 

"We're going to make sure that we're taking a comprehensive review and to make sure that this police department is absolutely adhering to the best standards and practices of any department across the country," said Faulconer.

Misconduct within the SDPD first became a topic of concern during the trial of former officer Anthony Arevalos, who was convicted of sexual battery by restraint, bribery, assault and battery by police in 2011. 

Then in Dec. 2013, the SDPD internal affairs opened an investigation into then-officer Christopher Hays, 30, for allegations of sexual battery and false imprisonment. 

Hays is no longer employed with the department. 

Officer Donald Moncrief, 39, is accused of touching a woman inappropriately during an arrest in the South Bay last year and allegedly exposing himself to the woman. Moncrief has not been formally charged.

Arevalos' former attorney Gretchen von Helms said during the review, the DOJ will conduct personal interviews with SDPD personnel and review technical aspects such as pay, staffing and vehicle locator records to answer the big question: Have a few bad apples caused the scandals, or is this endemic to the SDPD culture? 

"San Diegans want to know what the heck is wrong," said von Helms. "Why is our city having all these sexual misconduct cases from police officers? And we gotta figure that out and using just our own resources -- i.e. police department -- itself hasn't worked."

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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