Zimmerman testified to city councilmembers about a shortage of uniformed police officers and slumping recruiting efforts.
Days after San Diego's police chief Shelley Zimmerman testified to city councilmembers about a shortage of uniformed police officers and slumping recruiting efforts comes a new lawsuit accusing the department of discriminating against female recruits.
On May 2, former police recruit Kimberly Ludlam filed a lawsuit against the city for gender discrimination and for violating California's Fair and Equal Housing Act. She says that police brass treat female recruits differently than male recruits and are more accommodating in case of injuries while training.
Ludlam joined the San Diego Police Department in May 2014. Only weeks into training Ludlam injured her left shoulder during training exercises. An MRI later revealed a small fracture which required surgery. Ludlam was then transferred to the Central Telephone Reporting Unit in the force's Northwestern Division. In January of the following year Ludlam underwent arthroscopic surgery and was told not to do any heavy lifting.
In April 2015 police sergeant Manny Hernandez and two supervisors met with Ludlam and informed her that she would either need to hand in her resignation or accept a permanent position on the force's clerical department. Later that month Ludlam met with the department's director of human resources, Silvia Satrom. Hernandez and two high-ranking officers attended the meeting. Once again, they told Ludlam that the recruiting period could be no longer than one year and Ludlam had to either resign or take a clerical position. Ludlam rejected the two options and informed them that department policy allowed injured recruits time to heal before they were kicked out of the academy.
The following day she was handed a Notice of Failed Probation and asked to turn in all department-issued materials.
According to the lawsuit, Ludlam says the treatment is nothing new.
"[Ludlam] is informed and believes that other female police officer recruits have been similarly denied reasonable accommodations for their injuries at the Academy, and subsequently forced to re-class into a different city assignment or given a Notice of Failed Probation under the false guise that the department could not continue to pay them as police officer recruits given the length of time of their injuries."
In her complaint, Ludlam says she is aware of at least two female officers who were forced out due to injuries as well as numerous male officers who were allowed to extend their training due to injuries.
Ludlam is seeking damages for emotional distress, loss of wages, loss of health care benefits, other additional damages as well as attorney's fees.