San Diego Mayor-elect Kevin Faulconer says SDPD will be transparent, accountable

Faulconer takes office March 3

SAN DIEGO - San Diego Mayor-elect Kevin Faulconer described a new vision for the San Diego Police Department -- a vision that involves transparency and accountability -- in an in-depth interview with Team 10 Friday.

Faulconer talked openly in his first in-depth interview since two SDPD officers were accused of sexually assaulting women while on duty. One officer, Christopher Hays, has been charged criminally and no longer works for the department.

"My focus right now is making sure we're doing the right thing in the San Diego Police Department," Faulconer said.

Faulconer said his first priority when sworn-in as mayor on March 3 will be to address the crisis facing the police department.

"When we see some of the allegations that we've seen, it's incredibly disturbing," Faulconer said. "That doesn't reflect who we are as a city; that doesn't reflect the men and women serving this city as a police department."

"I'm going to be talking with the chief," Faulconer said when asked about his plans for current police leadership. "We're going to have a very open and frank discussion. I'm going to be very clear on the standards I expect."

Faulconer met with SDPD Chief William Lansdowne for the second time this week on Friday.

"Public trust and confidence in the police department is absolutely essential and I'm going to take all steps to make sure that happens," Faulconer said. "We will insist that we have a culture of fairness, that we have a culture of transparency."

Transparency is something the public saw from San Diego police this week as the chief announced a second officer is under investigation after being accused of assaulting a woman in police custody.

Two weeks earlier, Lansdowne wasn't as forthcoming when Team 10 questioned him about confirmed reports that Hays was under investigation. Hays has since been charged criminally.

"The police department and every city department needs to have that level of transparency," Faulconer said. "I've talked about that with the chief and I've talked about that with many departments."

Faulconer also pointed to San Diego police wages as an issue. Faulconer campaigned on financial responsibility, and he said his commitment to recruiting and retaining quality officers will be obvious by his city budget.

"We're going to make sure we have competitive wages, that we have the absolute highest standards of any big city in the country," he said. "We're in a competitive market place. I recognize that and as mayor I'm going to have to ensure that our budgets reflect that."

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