In March, the San Jose Police Department was stunned by the Fentanyl overdose death of 24-year-old rookie officer Dijon Packer, a former San Jose State football star.
Then early this month, it was revealed that the FBI had turned in an officer who had been found drunk while working at the scene of the Baby Brandon kidnapping April 25. San Jose Police Chief Anthony Mata, in reporting the incident, declined to identify the officer, but said he was “disappointed and dismayed” by the incident.
“When any officer tarnishes the badge,” the chief said May 3, “we all suffer the consequences.”
Things for his department only got worse, as the month progressed.
An off-duty officer was cited by the California Highway Patrol for driving while intoxicated, causing an accident in Hayward. There were no injuries.
Then on Thursday, a police spokesperson confirmed to local media that a San Jose police officer is on administrative leave after he allegedly traded a meth pipe to a woman in exchange for information.
The alleged incident happened late last year and the unidentified officer has been on leave since December, the department confirmed, without identifying the officer.
Also on Thursday, District Attorney Jeff Rosen announced that San Jose Police Officer Matthew Dominguez, 32 was charged with masturbating in the home of a family where he and other officers had been dispatched for an April 21 disturbance.
Dominguez, a four-year veteran, was arrested May 12 and is to be arraigned on a misdemeanor indecent exposure charge on June 22.
“The charged behavior is beyond disturbing,” Rosen said. “Law enforcement officers respond to our homes to help crime victims, not terrorize, traumatize, and create new victims.”
Rosen said evidence shows that after initiating the investigation, Dominguez sent the other officers away to locate the subject. Shortly thereafter, Dominguez touched himself in front of two female family members, then exposed himself to the mother.”The shocked and scared victims fled and reported the officer’s behavior to two male relatives nearby,” according to a press release.
That was enough for San José Mayor Sam Liccardo, who took to the podium on his Facebook page today, and said he will push for changes to the contract with the San Jose Police Officers Association for random drug and alcohol testing of all officers. “To their credit, they’ve indicated a willingness to negotiate on that issue,” Liccardo said.
“I’d like to respond to yesterday’s news about the San José Police officer who was placed on leave many months ago for allegedly offering a meth pipe to an informant in exchange for information,” Liccardo said on Facebook May 12..
“This officer’s conduct amounts to a severe violation of the ethical and professional standards of this department,” the mayor said. He said the officer was placed on administrative leave more than six months ago, “and I’m confident that the department will do whatever is legally necessary to ensure he won’t again wear an SJPD uniform.”
“Obviously, this is the latest in what has become a drumbeat of serious transgressions by young officers in SJPD.” the mayor said.
“In my view, two things are equally true. First, we have a serious problem in SJPD that requires remedial action immediately. Second, these officers do not represent the very high moral and professional standards upheld by 99% of the hardworking SJPD officers protecting our community today.”
“In the days ahead, I look forward to the specific, actionable steps the department will be taking to improve screening and backgrounding of new applicants to the police academy, as well as supervision and investigation of officer misconduct,” Liccardo said.
“For two years, I have very publicly urged reforms in both investigation of police misconduct as well as in the arbitration process for officer discipline. Although some improvements have been made as a result, several others remain subject to state law requirements for negotiation with the police union and possibly, voter approval. I will continue to push forward with these proposals.”