Jonathan Saville 8:30 a.m., Feb. 23
DeMaio polygrapher declines to talk about questioned sole source SDPD deal
Washington-based McClatchy News Service investigated alleged favoritism in police lie detector contract awards to Indiana company as San Diego cops stayed mum
A long-time provider of lie detector services to the San Diego Police Department has declined to discuss a report by Washington. D.C.'s McClatchy News Service about his work for Lafayette Instrument Co. Inc., an Indiana company that, accusers assert, has benefited from widespread favoritism by police officials.
The San Diego polygrapher, Paul Redden, referred a reporter to Lafayette and refused to answer any other questions about his role with SDPD or its lie detector deal - said by McClatchy to be sole source - before abruptly terminating a call placed to him at his office this morning.
Redden is the lie detector operator who has produced a report exonerating Republican ex-city councilman Carl DeMaio of masturbation charges leveled by San Diego Democratic Assemblyman Ben Hueso.
In addition to Redden, an ex-San Diego police employee, the news service looked into various cases of alleged favoritism, including one involving Walt Goodson, a polygrapher for the Texas Department of Public Safety.
According to McCatchy:
After Texas investigators found his relationship with the polygraph manufacturer to be improper partly because of his involvement in a bid, Goodson agreed it looked bad, even describing some of the company’s arrangements as “kickbacks.”
“It’s the perception of the way everybody else sees it . . . ,” he told a Texas Department of Public Safety investigator in 2008. “It stinks.”
Public employees are supposed to avoid conflicts of interest such as Goodson’s because they could give a company an unfair advantage over competitors or create a greater expense for the public agency that’s buying a product.
Even so, Goodson is one of 14 current or former law enforcement officers across the country who’ve been described by Lafayette Instrument Co. Inc. as dealers over the last six years, McClatchy has found. The officers’ listed sales territories have covered 22 states.
Regarding Redden and his role with the controversial company, the McClatchy report said:
Retired San Diego Police Department polygrapher Paul Redden didn’t return McClatchy’s calls.
He’s been listed as a dealer since at least 2007 and last year was identified as a salesman in at least one of San Diego’s purchases from Lafayette.
The police department refused to answer questions about Redden, including when he’d worked there or whether he now works as a contractor.
San Diego has been buying Lafayette polygraphs at least since 2002, when it awarded a noncompetitive bid to the company, according to city records obtained under California’s open records laws.
The polygraph firm is also closely wired to the U.S. government's Mexico and border drug operations, McClatchy reported.
In 2010, the State Department awarded the company a noncompetitive bid worth almost $2.4 million for 318 machines to be used by Mexico for its U.S-funded anti-corruption efforts. Lafayette lists dealers who head international polygraph schools, including one in Mexico.
Such relationships raise questions about the profession’s ability to assess criticism of the polygraphs.
Lafayette manufactures the LX4000, which has been described as having a technical problem that can lead to inaccurate sweat measurements that may alter the outcome of a polygraph test, McClatchy has found. The problem can occur in other machines that use the same technology, but it hasn’t been thoroughly or independently studied.
Redden has handled several high profile police cases here, including that of Daniel Dana, accused of raping a prostitute in 2011.
According to a July 2011 report posted online by KFMB television news, Redden's examination found Dana to be truthful when he denied the charges against him.
As in DeMaio’s case, the information was selectively released to local media.
News 8 obtained the polygraph test results from the former officer's wife, Shauna Dana.
She broke her silence this week, telling News 8, "I know my husband did not do the things he is charged with. I am hoping people will see from the (polygraph) test results that he is innocent."
The tests were administered by Paul Redden, a retired San Diego police interrogator who testified in the David Westerfield trial.
According to a July 18, 2012 account in U-T San Diego, the lie detector results were used in plea negotiations with Republican District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis, resulting in downward revision of the charges against Dana, who was allowed to plead no contest to just one charge of engaging in a lewd public act.
GOP congressional candidate DeMaio, believed to be interested in jumping into the San Diego mayor's race, enjoys the quiet backing of many local law enforcement officials, including U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy, who contributed money to his 2012 mayoral bid against now ousted Democrat Bob Filner, as well as FBI and DEA brass here and in Washington.
He was a key mover in the trouble-plagued, behind the scenes city hall clearances for a palatial new FBI headquarters built and owned here by Las Vegas-based real estate developer Irwin Molasky, who developed the legendarily mobbed-up La Costa Resort with the late Vegas mobster Moe Dalitz.