Wednesday, February 19 2014 1:41 PM EST2014-02-19 18:41:04 GMT
A San Diego police officer accused of inappropriately touching and sexually assaulting women in their 20s and 30s during pat-down searches was charged Tuesday with five criminal counts. More >>
A San Diego police officer accused of inappropriately touching and sexually assaulting women in their 20s and 30s during pat-down searches was charged Tuesday with five criminal counts, including felony false imprisonment and misdemeanor sexual battery.More >>
SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - San Diego Police Chief William Lansdowne's decision to retire comes amid a scandal in the department with two officers under investigation for sexual misconduct.
"I'm not surprised, it's just whenever a ship runs aground the captain has to go and this ship has clearly run aground," said Dan Gilleon.
He is an attorney who represented victims of former SDPD Officer Anthony Arevalos convicted of sexual misconduct while on the job and now representing two women who accuse Officer Christopher Hays of sexual battery and lewd acts while on duty.
"I can tell you that morale is quite low at the SDPD. I think that the priority would be to get someone that police officers themselves will respect and follow because we need a leader right now," said Gilleon.
He wants the new leader to put the Professional Standards Unit back in place, a unit that keeps officers honest, a unit dismantled by Lansdowne when he took the job ten years ago.
"Him [Lansdowne] leaving is so important. It's not just symbolic, it's also going to help morale in the police department," said Gilleon.
However, not everyone says the chief is to blame for moral amid the recent scandals.
"Chief Lansdowne is a very honorable and recognized for his leadership qualities," said Brian Marvel.
He is the president for the San Diego Police Officers Association and says the recent scandals don't have to do with Lansdowne's leadership rather the lack of manpower to supervise officers. He has a message for the new chief.
"We want a chief that will be able to go to the council and the mayor and say we have a serious issue regarding our recruiting and staffing and it needs to be addressed and hopefully they can move the department and the city and help fix the problem," said Marvel.
The president for the NAACP San Diego branch says she is disappointed Lansdowne is retiring from the SDPD. Lei-Chala Wilson says she and the chief had a close working relationship that was genuine and he set high standards in moving forward to overcome racial profiling.
Lansdowne has been with SDPD since 2003 when he was appointed by former Mayor Jerry Sanders.
Previously Lansdowne was the chief for the San Jose Police Department and Richmond Police Department.
He plans to retire on Monday March 3.
Interim Mayor Todd Gloria is recommending a national search for the chief.
The next chief will be appointed by the mayor, most likely Mayor-elect Kevin Faulconer who says he hasn't made a decision on how he is going to search for the police chief position.
San Diego Police Chief William Lansdowne is announcing his retirement from the San Diego Police Department, effective Monday March 3, 2014. The Chief has served the citizens of San Diego for over 10 years and has successfully led the Department through countless critical events.
Although Mayor Elect Kevin Faulconer did not ask for the Police Chief to resign, Chief Lansdowne felt it was time to do so. The Chief absolutely supports the new Mayor and believes in his vision and direction for the City.
This was a difficult decision for Chief Lansdowne to make as he considers San Diego his home and truly values the citizens of this city and the employees who work here.
Mayor-elect Kevin Faulconer statement:
On Tuesday, mayor-elect Kevin Faulconer thanked Lansdowne for his "tireless public service," and pledged his full support to the men and women of the police department:
"I greatly appreciate Police Chief Lansdowne's leadership and dedication to the San Diego Police Department. He is a tireless public servant, leading the police department over the last 10 years with an unwavering commitment to public safety. San Diego owes him a debt of gratitude," said Faulconer.
"As mayor, the brave men and women of the San Diego Police Department will have my full support. They serve our city every day with dignity and honor. I will work with them to move the department past this difficult time and ensure they have the resources and leadership to be successful. San Diego families deserve the best and brightest officers, and as mayor I will work every day to keep those officers here - and attract more - to protect our neighborhoods. I will make an announcement on new leadership in the police department in the near future."