Touching Base: A Message from the Chief
August 25, 2013
Dear Community Members and Department Personnel:
Over the last year, the Pasadena Police Department received several personnel complaints brought forth primarily by a sole source. The complaints were received during trial proceedings related to a 2010 aggravated assault (the victim was so severely beaten by two suspects that he required multiple reconstructive surgeries). Suspect De Los Santos was convicted by a jury and suspect Dumas took a plea deal in court. At my request, the string of 11 complaints was investigated by the Los Angeles County Sheriff's and the Pasadena Police Department. Ten of the investigations are concluded and the outcomes can now be shared publically.
On August 22, the Pasadena Police Department sent out a news release outlining the allegations and findings. The entire news release can be found at: (cityofpasadena.net/EkContent.aspx?theme=Navy&id=6442470869&bid=0&style=news&bid=0s). The local media covered the administrative reviews; however there were several key points missing from their articles. I feel it is important to share additional details regarding these complaints to present a clearer picture.
As outlined in the news release, three allegations were unfounded. That means the investigations proved the allegations never occurred. In one case, the subject officer was not on-duty and was many miles away from Pasadena when the factious incident reportedly happened. Four cases were exonerated as the investigations determined the officers’ actions were proper and within departmental policy and the law. At least one complainant alleged the police department was corrupt and he/she was personally targeted by the Pasadena Police Department. However, the complaint failed to support the allegations when investigators produced an audio recording (captured at the time of the alleged misconduct) disproving the assertions. Two complaints were sustained for policy violations (an inappropriate comment verbalized over six years ago, and the second determined the officer’s performance was below department standards). The involved officers were subsequently disciplined.
The police department’s Internal Affairs process is structured to investigate allegations of misconduct. Moreover, when violations of department policy, procedures, or the law, are deemed to have occurred, the employee is held accountable. However, if the personnel investigation determines the employee's actions were appropriate (within policies, procedures, or the law); the involved employee will be exonerated.
Given the litigious environment associated with law enforcement, I anticipate there will be future personnel complaints, claims, and law suits against the Pasadena Police Department and its employees. Personnel investigations may require an extended period of time to complete depending on the allegations and the complexity of the case. When the department receives complaints, I ask that you don't rush to judgment during the investigation and await the outcome, which will be based on evidence.
The Pasadena Police Department and our community will face future challenges – this fact is undisputed. Crime is relatively low in Pasadena, in part because of increased community awareness, collaborative partnerships, and exceptional law enforcement services. Together we can overcome any obstacles and continue to maintain a safe city for all who live in, work, or visit Pasadena.
I am proud of the men and women of this great organization. They are exceptional employees who are dedicated, courageous, and talented. They strive daily to mitigate crime and provide a high quality of service throughout our community. The Pasadena Police Department will continue to safeguard our community regardless of the origin of the threat, be it local, regional, or national, as we follow our mantra: Mission First, People Always.
Phillip L. Sanchez
Chief of Police
Pasadena Police Department
207 N. Garfield Avenue
Pasadena, CA 91101
Mission First, People Always