A Chula Vista Police Officer was forced to resign last year after having sex while on-duty.
On November 30, 2018, Officer Michael Ingley resigned from the department after two years on the job.
The new information comes from documents obtained by NBC 7 Investigates after submitting a public record request for officer discipline files, now releasable under new state law. This week, eight police officer unions in San Diego County filed a lawsuit, trying to stop the release of these kinds of documents.
According to the investigative files and interview transcripts, Officer Michael Ingley had consensual sex near a water tower next to Chula Vista Elementary School, which was closed at the time. Ingley was on-duty and in uniform when it took place.
The public land along Moonview Drive has long been a sore spot for neighbors.
Chula Vista Police had received complaints from neighbors about drug-use, loud parties, and noise in the area. Police responded, agreeing to patrol the area more frequently as well as install new lighting throughout the area.
On April 8, 2018, at around 4:30 am, neighbors said they saw Ingley and the woman "making out" before walking towards the water tower.
“They don’t go up the hill when we call with trouble up here, but over the weekend one officer in his patrol car met his honey at 4am and they both went up the hill,” one neighbor wrote to police after the night in question. “It’s called priorities.”
In response to the complaint from neighbors, Chula Vista Police Department’s Internal Affairs division launched an investigation. Using GPS coordinates from Ingley’s police cruiser, investigators confirmed that Officer Ingley was there that night. Police logs show Ingley notified dispatch that he would be on “extra patrol” in the area of the water tower, at the time of the incident.
“Did I have sex with her? Yeah,” Ingley told an Internal Affairs Sergeant during a May 7, 2018 interview, according to the documents obtained by NBC 7 Investigates.
“I would never plan something like this. It was impulsive and it was a bad choice in a weak moment,” Ingley said.
During his interview, Ingley said he had met the woman through the dating website Plenty of Fish and they had been talking for about six months prior to that night.
“She wanted to meet me as a cop, basically,” Ingley said.
When asked why he chose the location neighbors had recently been complaining about, Ingley admitted to knowing about the complaints and said he thought he would be “killing two birds with one stone.”
“In my head, that’s how I had it planned, that we were gonna walk up to the water tower, you know, make out and do something for a little bit,” Ingley said. “Then walk back down, just like [what] I would be doing there anyway.”
Chula Vista Police Captain Vern Sallee expressed frustration about the incident during the interview.
“We work very hard...to show that our officers are righteous upstanding citizens that can be trusted,” Sallee said, adding that Ingley’s actions had “completely cut our legs out from under us.”
Sallee also referred to recent news of a San Diego County Sheriff’s Deputy facing sexual misconduct charges when explaining the harm Ingley’s actions could have caused.
“How do we answer to the public?” Sallee said during the interview. “How do we keep our house in order?”
According to the records, Chula Vista Police Chief Roxana Kennedy recommended Ingley be terminated from his job. A spokesperson for the department told NBC 7 Investigates Ingley eventually resigned.
In an email to NBC 7, Chula Vista Police Chief Roxana Kennedy said, “The facts of the investigation speak for themselves. This was an example of poor judgment that resulted in an officer losing their job.”
“Acting in the best interests of our community’s expectations, the Department immediately launched an objective and detailed investigation,” Kennedy wrote. “The Chula Vista Police Department strives to hold our employees accountable to the highest standards for our community and our profession. The Department also recognizes that no individual is infallible.”
On Thursday, a homeowner living near the water tower off of Moonview Drive said the neighborhood is still dealing with problems they had reported to police last year. He spoke on the condition NBC 7 would not publish his name.
"Sex, drinking, drugs, people do what they want to do," he said. "It's absolutely ridiculous."