Chief calls for outside audit of police department

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SAN DIEGO — Chief William Lansdowne is calling for an outside audit of the San Diego Police Department in response to the latest accusations of sexual misconduct against one of his officers.

SDPD Chief William Lansdowne

SDPD Chief William Lansdowne

The chief said he was in negotiations with the Department of Justice and two outside agencies to develop a review of department practices. The audit was prompted in part by allegations against Officer Christopher Hays, which followed similar charges against former Officer Anthony Arevalos.

Hays is accused of groping four women while detaining them for various reasons on separate occasions last year, SDPD officials said Thursday.  Since the initial report, two additional women have come forward.

Arevalos was convicted in November 2011 of felony and misdemeanor charges involving five women, including multiple counts of sexual battery by restraint, asking for a bribe and assault and battery by a police officer.

“I hope that a couple of rogue officers don’t reflect on the entire department, but we’re working vigorously to have the best system we possible can with some outside review,” Lansdowne told Fox 5 Morning News.

“I think that the public would like to see an outside, unbiased review, and I’ve talked to two agencies, the COPS program, which is the Department of Justice, and I’ve talked with PERF,” Lansdowne said. “Both are putting together a proposal to have a complete review of the department for staffing, for recruitment, for ethics training, for our internal affairs investigative system to make recommendations for the best practices across this great county.”

Lansdowne said the a full-scale review could cost between $80,000 and $200,000, based on preliminary estimates. He said he is talkingwith the Department of Justice to see if it can be paid for with federal money.

When asked if he was worried about his job in light of the most recent misconduct charges against one of his officers, Lansdowne said that Mayor-elect Kevin Faulconer can replace him at any time.

“My job has been been in jeopardy for the 20 years that I’ve been chief.,” Lansdowne said with a wry smile.  “I certainly understand that Mayor Faulconer has the absolute right to pick the person that he wants to lead the department.”

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