Attorney critical of independent audit of SDPD

Firm leading investigation has ties to ex-chiefs

SAN DIEGO - It is supposed to be an independent review into the embattled San Diego Police Department, but new revelations show the organization in charge of the investigation has deep ties to the department.

The review comes after allegations of misconduct by several officers, most recently Chris Hays. He is currently facing charges of false imprisonment and sexual battery.

The Police Executive Research Forum (PERF) is in charge of the investigation, with the federal government footing the bill.

Team 10 confirmed PERF has connections to former San Diego Police Chiefs Jerry Sanders and William Lansdowne. Both served on PERF's board of directors.

"These ties are entirely too close," said attorney Linda Workman.

Workman represents "Jane Doe," a victim of former San Diego police Officer Anthony Arevalos. He is serving more than eight years in prison for sexual battery. Doe is suing, asking for an independent monitor of the San Diego Police Department.

"If the organization that's conducting the audit is biased, then it's a waste of time and resources and the public does not get the reforms it needs," said Workman.

A Voice of San Diego article says Sanders and Lansdowne were both treasurers for PERF. Lansdowne also taught a management class for the firm.

"We welcome the Department of Justice assessment to come in," Chief Shelley Zimmerman told 10News in April.

Workman says the problem is the audit was outsourced.

On Thursday, Zimmerman told Team 10, "I welcome any and all recommendations for us to improve any of our processes."

Craig Fischer, the director of communications for PERF, released a statement to Team 10 saying:

"PERF has relationships with nearly every major city police chief and other law enforcement leaders at the local, state, and federal levels. It is through our daily contacts with these officials and the research that we conduct in police departments that PERF develops expertise on the best policies, practices and programs in law enforcement."

Click here to read the full statement.

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