Monday, July 2, 2012

(Sacramento) Grand jury issues scathing report on Twin Rivers police, officials

1:45 PM, Jun 28, 2012
Written by C. Johnson

PDF Document: 062812 twin rvrs grandjury report

SACRAMENTO, CA - The Sacramento County Grand Jury released its investigation into the Twin Rivers School District Police Department and their findings revealed a number of incidents of police over-stepping their authority and negligent record-keeping.

The department, which the police chief renamed Twin Rivers Police Department without apparent approval from the school district or school board it answers to, has come under fire for incidents ranging from excessive towing of vehicles to responding to police calls out of its jurisdiction to use of Tasers without training.

For example:

REPORT: Twin Rivers Police Department officers routinely monitor the Sacramento Police Department's and the Sacramento Sheriff's frequencies. As they monitor the burglary calls, suspicious person or property calls, break-ins, fights, and other crimes in progress, they often respond to the scene, out of their jurisdiction and before a call for "mutual aid" is broadcast.

REPORT: The department recognized more money could be brought into their supplemental account by increasing the tow fees. The command staff of the department, with the approval of the Assistant Superintendent and the knowledge of the Superintendent, raised the price for release of the vehicle to $200.00. This new fee was documented in a memo dated October 24, 2011. However, these fees were in effect from early 2009. The Grand Jury was unable to obtain earlier documentation of the rate increase. It could not determine if the Board of Education approved the increase. Through sworn testimony of Twin Rivers Police Department officers, the Grand Jury learned that increasing the number of cars towed would ensure there was ample money in the Twin Rivers Police Department supplemental fund, and the increase tow fees were a way to generate additional funding.

REPORT: A Twin Rivers Police Department Sergeant arrived and ordered the officer who fired the Taser to remove the darts. The officer removed the darts from the man and sent him on his way rather than administering the medical attention required by standard Taser training. The Twin Rivers Police Department Sergeant at the scene did not call for medical assistance ... We found no evidence that all officers in Twin Rivers Police Department had Taser training.

The grand jury probe also found paid administrative leave of officers was not monitored nor was personal use of patrol vehicles and fuel purchases.

The district police department's responsibility is to serve and protect its students, staff and facilities.

The investigation also faulted the school district's superintendent for failing to communicate with the school board about lawsuits and other issues involving the district police department as well as not consulting with the board regarding the hiring of the police chief.

The grand jury also recommended the board hire a new superintendent and other top district officials with the experience and understanding to do their jobs.

REPORT: The Board should consider replacement of the Superintendent, Deputy Superintendent, the Associate Superintendent of Human Resources, and Assistant Superintendent of Facilities Services. It is imperative that the Board do an extensive assessment of the above stated Twin Rivers Unified School District employees, to determine if they have the integrity, knowledge, experience, and skills to continue in their positions.


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