A former Seaside Police Department officer has just been acquitted of 33 charges relating to his alleged sexual abuse of six women while in uniform. The ex-officer, who was fired last year after an internal investigation, initially lied about meeting one of the women because he ignored police department advice not to meet informants alone. After one of the confidential informants made her complaint against the officer, he was arrested – another five women also made similar complaints.
The case highlights two important aspects of police procedure. Firstly, policies and procedures need to be firmly implemented to ensure that officers do not make unauthorised or unaccountable contact with confidential informants. Secondly, confidential complaints by citizens need to be carefully stored to prevent officers’ free access to information that may include allegations against them.