City councilman supports SDPD chief in his call for audit

SAN DIEGO - A San Diego city councilman is supporting the police chief in his call for an independent audit. The chief's request comes after multiple women came forward accusing another officer of sexual assault.

10News spoke with Councilman Scott Sherman and local attorney Dan Gilleon, who both agree that there are problems within the police force but have different views about hiring an auditor.

"I think the chief is recognizing there's a problem and in this business, perception is everything," said Sherman.

The perception of San Diego's police force is concerning now to its own leader. San Diego Police Chief William Lansdowne says he wants an auditor to look into several things, which include the handling of misconduct cases, recruiting and background, ethics training and its internal affairs system.

Gilleon says it is a big waste of money.

"I mean, you don't need to have an audit team to come in and charge millions of dollars to look through a police department and say how are we going to fix this?" Gilleon said. "I can tell you how to fix it … is you let the weeding out process work."

The new push for an audit comes after seven women accused San Diego police Officer Christopher Hays of sexually harassing or assaulting them while on duty. Hays denies those claims. Although he was arrested, he has not officially been charged.

Two years ago, the city was faced with another sex scandal in the case of former officer Anthony Arevalos.

"I think we need to get looking at command structure and how that works, who is accountable and how the culture is," said Sherman.

Sherman says he will need to look over the proposal thoroughly and consider the costs.

The chief says it is well worth it even though he has already tried to improve his department.

He has increased supervisor training, updated a discipline manual and created an anonymous complaint hotline.The chief is talking to two audit firms and will need the city council's final approval.

Mayor-elect Kevin Faulconer released this statement Sunday afternoon:

"The type of behavior that is being reported is unacceptable and not reflective of the vast majority of men and women in the San Diego Police Department. I will be meeting with the police chief in the coming days to discuss an independent audit as part of my broader goal of rebuilding the police department and ensuring we are recruiting and retaining the best officers to serve San Diegans."

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