'A positive sign'
Pasadena police use-of-force and misconduct complaints decline
By André Coleman 03/20/2014
A City Councilman who has called for a study of civilian oversight of the Pasadena Police Department told the Weekly on Monday that he was impressed by recently released statistics that show a sharp decline in police misconduct complaints and use of force during arrests.
“This is a positive sign,” said Councilman John Kennedy. “The more we train our officers, the better educated they are about community policing. We hope the numbers will continue to decline in use of force. Pasadena has an excellent Police Department.”
Kennedy — who is also a member of the council’s Public Safety Committee — was responding to statistics presented to the committee by Pasadena Police Chief Phillip Sanchez.
According to those numbers, use-of-force incidents during arrests have dropped by about 33 percent since 2012. Last year there were 35 such incidents during 6,630 arrests. That number is down from 52 and 53 use-of-force incidents in 2011 and 2012, respectively.
The decline in the use of force during arrests has resulted in fewer complaints against officers.
In 2013, 57 investigations were launched against officers, down from 89 the year before.
Allegations made by members of the public against officers have included rudeness, refusal to take a crime report and false arrest.
Of those 57, 12 officers faced disciplinary action. Five of them were suspended. Five received verbal warnings and two were ordered to undergo training.
The document did not detail the nature of the complaints against those officers.
Police Lt. Tracey Ibarra said the numbers have declined due to the conclusion of several investigations which were the result of two attorneys who brought forth complaints by their clients against police officers in 2012.
“There was an irregular spike due to those complaints. Since that has been resolved, the numbers are going back to a steady pace.”
At Monday’s meeting of the council’s Public Safety Committee, Sanchez also announced that the Sheriff’s Department would be called to investigate all officer-involved shootings, a change from current procedure in which deputies are called in the event of injury or death as a result of such incidents. Police Lt. Tracey Ibarra said the numbers of use-of-cormplaints have declined due to the conclusion of several investigations which were the result of complaints filed by two attorneys against police officers in 2012. In August, the Sheriff's Department and Pasadena police cleared Officer Kevin Okamoto and Detectives Keith Gomez and William Broghamer of claims that they either individually or together attempted to influence witness testimony, inappropriately used an informant and failed to provide a copy of a search warrant when asked. Other claims against the officers included harassment, unlawful arrest, submission of a misleading police report and inappropriate recording a jailhouse conversation. The investigations led Kennedy to call for the city to fund a study of civilian oversight of the department. The council discussed the issue but never took a vote when it became apparent that Kennedy did not have support.