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Oceanside resident Woodrow Hidgon's three minutes of public testimony at the September 2 city council meeting ended with jeers from the audience: "Sit down!" were the shouts from inside city council chambers.

"Okay, people, you really don't want to hear this do you?" replied Higdon in the microphone amid shouts from audience members.

"Have a seat, sir. We've had enough. Thank you," said Oceanside mayor Jim Wood, a retired, 31-year veteran of the city's police force.

Higdon, a middle-aged ex-cop, donning wire-rim glasses and neatly cropped hair, exited the dais as the audience applauded. As he made his way toward his seat, mayor Wood's voice boomed over the public audio system, "We've had several issues with this gentleman [that are] being addressed by our chief of police."

Higdon has grown accustomed to this treatment. For months, he has gone before the city council to report his findings of supposed corruption and criminal misconduct in the city's police department.

"I've been cut-off for many months [for] complaining about various aspects of police corruption," said Higdon during a September 3 phone interview. "They don't want to hear from me.”

For the past eight months, Higdon has been running his own investigation into Oceanside's police department. He says he has hundreds of pages of "documentation" and that he is on the edge of breaking the case.

Higdon says he's uncovered collusion between the police department and insurance companies in the wrongful denial of damage claims. He says there are illegal recordings by an Oceanside police officer, who for eight years has failed to submit audio recordings of criminal suspects into evidence, which may result in re-trials and costly civil suits -- all without any punishment from the chief of police. And then there’s the police union's role in donating funds to the recall election of councilmember Jerome Kern.

"There are a number of people who are trying to cover this up. Why haven't these guys come after me and arrested me? It's because I've given all the evidence in the world that this is true and all the documentation is solid. They can't touch me."

Higdon says he will continue to appear at city council meetings. He expects nothing more than to be cut off at precisely three minutes into his testimony. "Like I said, nobody wants to hear this, but they can't keep me quiet."

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Comments

PistolPete Sept. 6, 2009 @ 9:15 a.m.

More citizens need to voice their concerns like this guy. Give 'em hell,Woodrow!

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SurfPuppy619 Sept. 6, 2009 @ 11:40 a.m.

He says there are illegal recordings by an Oceanside police officer, who for eight years has failed to submit audio recordings of criminal suspects into evidence, which may result in re-trials and costly civil suits -- all without any punishment from the chief of police.

If this is true-that a dirty cop is withholding "exculpatory" material-then that cop shoud not just be fired, but charged with obstruction of justice- and if the Chief knew about it the Cheif should also be fired and charged.

Then the City should file a civil suit against both the dirty cop and the chief for indemnification should the City be found liable for the absues these dirtbag cops have engaged in.

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jerome Sept. 7, 2009 @ 9:33 a.m.

when i was a kid cops were part of the community trusted as their integrity was transparent as we were all in this together and we all shared responsibility for keeping our system honest....... it does seem to have changed >the police seem to be separated from the community and have their own private i got your back blue boys club and the law is for the public not them>>>>tell me all cops get regular, psycological evaluations, drug testing,and outside oversight...............well tell me.

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Visduh Sept. 7, 2009 @ 2:35 p.m.

The OPD has been an embarrassment to that city for at least twenty years. Make no mistake, it has a tough row to hoe. But every couple years, something happens that costs the city millions, and gives the PD another black eye. How many black eyes can one department endure? Several times it has been charged with various types of discrimination and/or harassment, and after noisy denials, the city has paid the plaintiffs big settlements.

Recently the OPD has been seen in a more sympathetic light because of the murders of two of its young uniformed cops. They truly were doing the job they were hired to do, and paid with their lives. But those two tragedies don't exculpate the OPD from its many weaknesses. Chiefs come and go, cops join the force and eventually retire, and the beat goes on (pardon the pun.) It was an OPD "gang" specialist, borrowed by the Escondido PD, who led the fouled-up investigation of the Stephanie Crowe murder case.

Unfortunately, it will turn out that this "gadfly", Higdon, will have revealed even more wrongdoing or at least serious breakdowns. Will the DA step up to the plate and take the PD to task? With this DA, I would not bet on it.

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SurfPuppy619 Sept. 7, 2009 @ 3:27 p.m.

It was an OPD "gang" specialist, borrowed by the Escondido PD, who led the fouled-up investigation of the Stephanie Crowe murder case.

It doesn't get much worse than the Crowe case, like the Akiki and Sommers cases-all low points in San Diego criminal justice history.

The prosector in the Crowe case should have been disbarred, like Nifong was, same goes for the prosecutor in the Dale Akiki case (Ed Miller was not re elected over Akiki, but he should have been disbarred).

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WHISTLEBLOWER Sept. 8, 2009 @ 11:07 a.m.

Corruption and criminal misconduct in the OPD, City Council, and the DA's office is more extensive then anyone knows. Documentation available at www.gtinewsphoto.com.

I am the former police officer whistleblower. OPD and the DA's office have been protecting each other from criminal complaints and investigations for years. Some of this corruptions extends all the way to Sacramento and it is all based on access to, and control of public funds.

The officer Damon Smith's evidence tampering tape coverup is directly connected to most of the current corruption by the money trail. Eight years of evidence tampering, obstruction of justice and purgery, and no arrest or prosecution. Damon Smith has the names of other police officer that knew about the secret tapes over the 8 year period. Officer Smith is a time bomb and the only way OPD & the DA can keep his mouth shut is to protect him from arrest and prosecution.

I need the public's help, and the media's help. Complete media exposure is the only real chance of protecting the public.

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beachwalker2 Sept. 18, 2009 @ 11:14 p.m.

I have been a backer of police personnel and policy my whole life. Tonight this all came under question when I was harassed by Oceanside police on the beach for no apparent reason. They questioned what I was doing there, why I had no ID (only dorks bring their wallet to the beach), and why I was walking after dark - all without probable cause. They used lame tactics they probably saw on TV (CSI, most likely), like creating a false premise to try and get me riled up. Clearly they were there at the behest of the elitist homeowners on the coast who don't like peasants like me walking on the beach they think they own. These cops were owned, plain and simple.

To the buffoon cop pretending to be intelligent - "quash" is the legal term for summarily suppressing a charge or action - not squash which is a vegetable or a game played with a racket.

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Josh Board Sept. 20, 2009 @ 1:18 a.m.

Dude...you so should've said that to the cop. That would've been awesome. And really, would could he do? Take you in for correcting his ignorance?

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beachwalker2 Sept. 20, 2009 @ 9:46 a.m.

I really wanted to!! I actually kind of corrected her once but I didn't want to press my luck, not having an ID and all.

I also wanted to point out to them that between the wait time and harassment time, that they were there for at least a 1/2 hour. I don't think that's a good use of Oceanside PD resources on a Friday night, responding to a non-crime. But that question is much better posed to you Oceanside tax payers and persistent victims of crime.

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