San Diego

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Accomplishments in SDPD Policy Change


Procedure on SDPD’s Administration of Discipline

The Mayor signed an operational standing procedure regarding the administration of discipline by the SDPD.  This document is important because the CRB is charged with reviewing and evaluating the administration of discipline arising from sustained complaints and there was a lack of consistency in this process.  This procedure will ensure consistency in the discipline memo received from the SDPD and provide a guideline for the CRB to follow when reviewing and evaluating the administration of discipline for those cases that are sustained.  The procedure also charges the Executive Director to maintain statistics on how the CRB voted in these cases.  The statistics will be provided in the CRB’s semi-annual report.

Prior to this new implementation, In order to facilitate the Board’s responsibility to “Review and Comment on the Administration of Discipline” the Police Department informed Review Team Leaders about discipline imposed and relevant background information prior to Board Meetings. Review Team Leaders will re-review the case, report the discipline, and recommend agreement or disagreement with comment to the full Board.

Policy on Use of Liquid Chemical Agent

The CRB recommended to SDPD that the department restate its Policy /Procedure Memo for the Use of Liquid Chemical Agent Procedure 1.06 Section III D3 and also revise the section to read that “first aid treatment should be rendered as soon as possible.”

SDPD restated the policy and revised the section per the CRB’s recommendation. 


Handcuffing, Restraining, Transporting Policy

Transporting prisoners in prisoner vans poses safety risks for officers and prisoners due to the limited space available for officers to safely seat belt prisoners.   Prisoner van officers shall seat belt prisoners unless the officer determines doing so would pose a safety risk to the officer.

In March 2016, the CRB recommended to SDPD to revise its current transporting policy to reflect that if the officer makes such a determination the officer shall:

  • Document the reason for not seat belting the prisoner;
  • If practicable, request additional assistance to utilize another transport method;
  • If not practical, transport the prisoner in the van without using seat belts, utilizing due caution at all times during such transport so that the prisoner’s risk of injury due to abrupt movements of the van is reasonably minimized;
  • In all cases in which the prisoner’s health and safety would not allow the prisoner’s safe transport in the van without being seat belted, such prisoner shall not be transported in the van.

In August 2016, SDPD revised its transporting policy based on the CRB’s recommendations.


CRB Review of Canine Cases

In April, 2017, the CRB recommended to SDPD that the Canine Unit continue to investigate and evaluate complaints regarding canine deployments and forward their reports to Internal Affairs. When there is a canine-related Use of Force (Category 1) complaint, Internal Affairs will submit a report to the CRB for review. When such a case is on the CRB agenda, someone from the Canine Unit will be invited to the meeting to be available to answer questions. It is further recommended that the CRB receive additional training on evaluating canine-related complaints.

In May 2017, SDPD implemented this recommendation.  As a result, canine cases are now being forwarded to the CRB for review.

Body Worn Camera Policy

In April 2017, the CRB recommended the following changes to SDPD regarding its Axon Body Worn Cameras Procedures, Section V. I, (Mandated Recordings), 1. (Enforcement Related Contacts):

  • Officers shall use the Event Mode to record enforcement related contacts. The Event Mode must be activated prior to actual contact with the citizen, or as soon as practical and safely possible   thereafter, and continue recording until the contact is concluded or the contact transitions from an enforcement contact into intelligence gathering.
  • Officers must begin recording in the Event Mode while driving to a call that has the potential to involve an enforcement contact, provided it is safe and practical to do so.

In September 2017, SDPD changed its Body Worn Camera Policy to   require officers to instead of “should” activate BWC prior to arriving at a call, that the officers “shall” activate BWC prior to arriving at a call.