Audit Finds 2 San Jose Police Officers Had Sex on Duty, Lied about It and Still Kept Their Jobs

UPDATE: The San Jose Police Department released the following statement over the weekend:

"We take all allegations of misconduct very seriously and are thoroughly investigated by our Internal Affairs Unit. Misconduct will not be tolerated and will be dealt with accordingly. There are checks and balances, all formal discipline recommended by this Department is reviewed and approved by the Office of Employee Relations and our City Attorney's Office. We can not discuss these specific cases because they are personnel matters but it is truly unfortunate that some choose to highlight these without knowing all the mitigating circumstances surrounding each case.

"Our men and women are held to a higher standard and do a great job in being professional and protecting our citizens everyday! Out of the approximate 500,000 citizen contacts we had last year, we received only 357 citizen complaints or concerns, less than 1%, and the IPA agreed on 90% of the Internal Affairs investigations she audited."

Two San Jose cops had sex while on duty, lied about it and still kept their jobs, according to an audit released Friday.

In her year-end report, Independent Police Auditor LaDoris Cordell said that the San Jose Police Department should adopt a zero-tolerance policy when officers lie to Internal Affairs. Many law enforcement agencies axe officers for perjury, she said, and that should be the local policy, too. The two officers who had sex on duty—in separate incidents—were merely suspended.

“It’s not the sex as much as the lying I’m concerned about,” Cordell told San Jose Inside. “The integrity of the department is based on the honesty of the officers. You can’t build trust with the community if we have officers lying and getting away with it. Honesty is critical, absolutely.”

One of the officers was working a side security job at a local school and violated policy by wearing a windbreaker emblazoned with “San Jose Police” on the back and a polo shirt with a colleague’s name and badge number. His secondary work permit was expired and he failed to report all of his hours.

The report says he was having an affair with a school employee and, one time, had sex with her in a room on campus while on the clock. The woman later claimed the officer sexually assaulted her. During the criminal investigation, the officer lied about some details of the case, the audit found.

Another officer was found to have repeatedly ditched work to go home and have sex.

The report names neither of the officers, citing state law that entitles them to confidentiality.

"We take allegations of misconduct seriously," said police spokeswoman Sgt. Heather Randol. "There is a due process that must occur when addressing misconduct investigations."

Though the vast majority of complaints logged with the independent auditor end up being unfounded or exonerated, there was a 28 percent jump in the number of allegations against San Jose officers in 2013. Thirty-five complaints, or 6 percent, were sustained, which means investigators found enough “evidence to prove clearly the allegation made.”

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In other cases, officers failed to document violated restraining orders and used profanity. One officer botched a report from a man who ran into the police lobby claiming to have just been sexually assaulted.

“The [officer] was assigned to the desk at the main lobby … when a male entered and reported that he had been sexually assaulted by another male,” the report says. “He also reported that he had visible bruising on his body. The [officer] interviewed the male in the lobby, did not photograph the injuries and did not record the statement … [or] notify the Sexual Assault Investigative Unit nor did he submit his written report to be signed off by a supervisor.”

Firing untruthful officers was one of 15 recommendations in Cordell’s report. She also suggested the agency update the officer handbook to include information about how to better interact with minorities and require training on how to deal with mentally ill suspects.

“Crisis intervention, especially dealing with the mentally ill, is very important,” Cordell said in an interview Friday. “In San Jose, in the recent past, there have been three office-involved shootings resulting in death … all crisis situations. We think our officers should be better equipped to deal with that.”

Right now, crisis intervention training is voluntary.

Another key aspect of the report, Cordell said, is a recommendation to train officers how to interact with people of color. The language in the agency’s training manuals “is really bad,” she said, “woefully insufficient.” In one section, it instructs cadets that if they’re hesitant to approach someone of a certain ethnicity that they should learn more about their culture.

“But why would we want a recruit who shies away from a certain culture?” Cordell asked. “We need to fix that.”

Police should also learn to respect minorities during routine traffic stops.

“We hear numerous complaints from people of color who say this happens quite frequently: that if you’re brown or you have a tattoo, the first thing an office says to you is, ‘Are you on probation or parole?’” Cordell said. “We have people calling us all the time about that. They’re offended.”

The City Council will review the audit when it meets April 29. In past years, the city has been very responsive to her direction, Cordell said.

In January, following up on a prior year recommendation, police began documenting all traffic stops after years of complaints that officers disproportionately targeted black and Latino residents. That data becomes available for the first time in June, Cordell said. She would also like officers to wear lapel cameras, a plan that's in the works and should roll out by the end of the year.

Jennifer Wadsworth is a staff writer for San Jose Inside and Metro Newspaper. Email tips to [email protected] or follow her on Twitter at @jennwadsworth.

11 Comments

  1. Ms. Cordell,

    Just a suggestion, file your annual report to justify your over paid position. But please stop you’re grandstanding alerting the media to film you walking into the police department and being on the local Merky News. AS a former judge, who are you as well as Chuck or any council member to recommend that an officer be fired for giving a false statement or being charged with a criminal act. Did you forget about due process. SJ has an Internal Affairs unit who investigates and makes recommendations to the Chief of Police. That is what he is paid to do, and then there is an appeal process. REMEMBER!

    And asking a person of any race or color if they are on parole or probation is not offensive, it is a good investigative tool. The very same information can be found by doing a criminal check over the radio. But it is a why to inquiry if a person is lying. I for one couldn’t care less if I was asked the same question. Is asking someone during a legal pat search if you have anything that might poke me (i.e.. needle) offensive as well. If you pull over any person of race or color for possible drunk driving is it offensive to ask them if they had anything to drink?

    I would like you to break down by race and color how many were arrested in SJ last year. How many were confirmed gang members, registered sex offenders. Show us some real facts instead of highlighting two cases. According to you complaints were actually down by 100.

    Cameras would be great so tell Chuck and the council to pony up the money. Heck, SJ cannot even fill a full police academy because no one want to work here.

  2. A little over 300 complaints, 20 or so which were sustained, most of those for petty violations. The IPA seems to be trying to justify the existence of her office, and the millions of dollars spent. SJPD responds to hundreds of thousands of calls each year, and the number of complaints is simply infinitesimal in comparison. The men and women of the SJPD are great people and great officers; they don’t deserve this continual bashing which just makes their jobs so much harder. Also, why is the IPA’s office office involved in the production of a TV show looking in leads for leads in old murder cases, with the IPA herself hosting the show? How does that fit the scope of her job description?

  3. “Another key aspect of the report, Cordell said, is a recommendation to train officers how to interact with people of color.”

    This is an interesting statement. While I think everyone should try to educate themselves on different cultures, I’m not sure we should treat (interact with) people of color any differently because the color of their skin. Isn’t there a word for that?

  4. “You can’t build trust with the community if we have officers lying and getting away with it.”

    Here Ms. Cordell reveals her real relationship with the truth as well as her perverted animosity toward police officers. First, neither officer got away with anything, but her admonishment about trust building conveys to the public that very conclusion. Second, despite her awareness that discipline was in fact administered, it’s clear that when it comes to policing the police, she, like every ghetto dweller ever interviewed by a news crew, equates anything short of termination as the police “getting away with it.”

    Without even getting into the myriad of pertinent factors that likely influenced the city’s decision on these two, no doubt, convoluted cases, what Ms. Cordell is insisting here is that she, and not the police chief and/or city manager, be the deciding factor in making decisions that, by any definition of executive purview, are theirs to make. And given that she’s talking about cases already decided, what her report amounts to is the direct questioning — in a most public of forums, of the judgement of the police chief and city manager. To make matters worse, she goes on to call for an overriding of their judgment; she wants to terminate two employees who’ve already served out their punishment. She demands endless jeopardy for those who draw her wrath. Is there no end to her megalomania? For all we know, perhaps Ms. Cordell thinks the chief and city manager shouldn’t be allowed to get away with their bad judgment; maybe she thinks they should be fired? I guess we’ll just have to wait for her next news release.

    If Ms. Cordell, more than the police chief or city manager, is recognized as having the final say on discipline, then why not on promotions and hiring? If the occupants of these two highly-paid positions are so spineless as to sit back and take this kind of disrespect from a self-promoting political opportunist then why not make it official and surrender these responsibilities to her, Raj Jayadev, Rick Callender, or some other cop-hating, color-approved faux police expert? Who knows, maybe there’s an NAACP award to be had?

  5. There is endless carping by Cordell and Jayadev that “people of color” are treated differntly, with no real data to back up their claims. So, SJPD should establish a database wherein the “color”/ethnicity of every person stopped, every person questioned, every perseon arrested, and every person convicted is entered. No names, so the privacy freaks don’t get bent out of shape. Just the report number, ethnicity and gender. One click of the mouse at year end would produce a report, and we might have some facts.

    • This is what I want, well stated, thank you! Do you hear us Cordell and city council? How much do we pay you to drum up complaints against officers to justify your over paid do nothing job. How much is SJ State University paying you, is that double dipping as well? 99% of SJPD give their lives to keep this city safe and you want to well “crap” on 2. Shame on you.

  6. “In other cases, officers…used profanity.”

    *smh* You want to fire officers over using profanity?

    Why anyone on this planet would consider going to work for SJPD at this point in the game, between Measure B and this garbage, is beyond me.

  7. Didn’t this wag used to be a councilperson in Palo Alto where it is a suspend-able offense for an officer to ask anyone if they are on probation or parole?

    Can we fire an IPA who is untruthful? Didn’t the City have to amend its “secondary employment ” (outside work) policy to accommodate the IPA’s outside contract work?

    Who Hired and continues to retain the IPA ?

  8. Cordell is the biggest racist of them all. And how about we make the citizens receive training on how to treat the police?

  9. Cordell’s audit released last week showed an 83-percent dip in internal investigations of alleged misconduct, which could either be because morale issues over understaffing or because officers are actually behaving better. Citizen-initiated complaints, on the other hand, have peaked since 2010.

    Make up your damn mind, which is it. Citizen complaints have increased because you ask them too on buses. Get a life.