Report: Number of complaints to SDPD hotline on major decline - San Diego, California News Station - KFMB Channel 8 - cbs8.com

Report: Number of complaints to SDPD hotline on major decline

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SAN DIEGO (CNS) - The number of complaints about officer misconduct called in to a confidential San Diego Police Department hotline has dwindled dramatically, according to a report scheduled to be delivered to a City Council committee next week.

The update to the SDPD's seven-point plan to address problems created by wayward officers says the hotline received 435 calls from its inception in May 2011 through December 2012.

However, the number of calls dropped from a high of 102 in the first month to just four last December, according to the report, which is set to be presented by Chief William Lansdowne to the Public Safety and Neighborhood Services Committee Wednesday.

The hotline is checked daily, and he reviews each call, Lansdowne said in the report.

"The majority of messages have included questions related to procedural issues, department operations, and/or neighborhood problems," Lansdowne wrote. "Other messages included complaints and compliments for police employees, referral requests, internal suggestions, information related to other law enforcement organizations, or general comments unrelated to law enforcement."

Some callers left name and contact information, and they received follow-up contacts. Others were anonymous, and some left the same message repeatedly, including one who called 30 times, he said.

The chief said the hotline continues to be publicized to department employees and the public through websites, bulletin boards and posters in police stations.

The seven-point plan was developed in response to a plague of misbehavior that resulted in 11 investigations from October 2010 and May 2011. Five officers were charged criminally, including one imprisoned for more than eight years for sexual assaults on female drunken driving suspects in the Gaslamp Quarter.

Among other findings in the update:

-- The SDPD's Internal Affairs Unit continues to operate at a heightened staffing level of two lieutenants, 12 sergeants, three detectives and a word processing operator;

-- Supervisors have received training in ethics and an early-intervention program;

-- The department's discipline manual was updated at the end of last year; and

-- A wellness unit was established at the SDPD's downtown headquarters, and wellness issues are now part of employee evaluations.

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