Matthew Lickona 5 p.m., Dec. 4
- Community Blog
Bad Cops Get Caught -- But Not All of Them Do
Yesterday, San Diego Police Chief William Lansdowne was not a happy camper, facing the local and national press about another problem with a SDPD officer allegedly committing a crime.
The cop's name is Daniel Edward Dana of Escondido, a three year member of the San Diego Police Department and former Marine. An El Cajon Blvd prostitute claims he raped her -- threatened her with arrest if she did not give him sexual favors -- in Presidio Park.
There was enough evidence for Dana to be arrested and to summarily be discharged from the SDPD. Between the lines, this tells us that the SDPD had other complaints about him and were already investigating him through Internal Affairs. The Police Officers Union would throw a hissy fit about a firing that fast, tossing out the "innocent until proven guilty" -- a civil right most cops do not like to believe, except maybe when it comes to their crimes...
Or Dana confessed to his guilt. Either way, there are things the public has not been told.
Chief Lansdowne is also under the microscope because lately there have been a large number of investigations and arrests for criminal conduct among police officers, from rape to stalking to hit and run and DUI. What should concern the San Diego public is that if it is that bad within the SDPD, it is worse, and also going on in the Sheriff's Department, the Highway Patrol (anyone remember Craig Peyer and his murdering Cara Knott?), Escondido and Carlsbad and La Mesa Police Departments, Harbor Patrol, SDSU and UCSD Police, etc.
So far, the dumb ones have been caught; the smart ones know to cover their criminal behavior. Sound like something out of a James Ellroy novel or the days of Prohibition? Jim Thompson's The Killer Inside Me comes to mind. Cops are human beings, they are not perfect upholders of the law: they commit crimes as well, to varying degrees, and some get caught and some do not.
I was the crime reporter here at the Reader for five years (see the blogs "It's a Crime" and "Murder San Diego") and I can tell you I have looked into stories on bad cops, and know that it is not only an embarrassment to the SDPD bosses upstairs, but to all officers on the force from the hot shot homicide detective to the lowly meter maid. For instance, after Crag Peyer was arrested for murder in 1987, many people (mostly women) refused to stop on the street or until thet were home when pulled over by a cop, fearful they might be murdered by another psycho cop.
Lately, I have been investigating the criminal conduct of Tijuana cops for a book I am writing. Every sixth months or so, the mayor of Tijuana, at the behest of the federal government, gets rid of most of the entire police force and puts new officers on the streets, arising from TJ cops robbing and beating up Americans to the TJ cops working with the drug cartel, and the overall usual practice of these cops to ask for money from citizens and tourists alike. This comes from the cops making less than $100 a week, and they need money like anyone else.
One problem with the SDPD could very well found in the fact that the officers are some of the lowest paid in the country -- often, an SDPD officer will seek employment in another city offering better pay. With low wages, the SDPD is not going to get the best, morally sound individuals applying for jobs; and the nefarious kind, after working a while, will see the loopholes and deficits within the system that allows criminals to go unscathed about their business, and it is inevitable such a nefarious person, cop or not, will exploit this.