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“California’s Criminal Cops” Series Sheds Light On Officer Misconduct In California

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A new investigative series by a collaboration of California news outlets has revealed that more than 80 law enforcement officers working in the Golden State today are convicted criminals.

Robert Lewis is one of the reporters who worked on the series. He says that California is one of only five states in the country that doesn’t decertify officers for misconduct.

Lewis: “Here in California, while many departments hold their people to the highest ethical standards and don't tolerate misconduct, there are certainly other departments that do not and because there is no power to strip an officer of their certificate, what can happen is that someone who is say, fired from a department or pushed out of a department, can conceivably get hired somewhere else. Or an officer with even a criminal conviction can be allowed to remain on the job within certain departments.”

All of the criminal cops still on the job were convicted of misdemeanors, as felons can’t be police officers in California. Those misdemeanors ranged from drunk driving to manslaughter.

The collaboration of news groups, which includes the Southern California News Group, also created a searchable database of criminal cops in the state.

In that database, 18 of the cops are in San Bernardino County, and 33 are in Riverside County.

The “Criminal Cops” series and database are available on numerous online newspapers, including the Press-Enterprise and San Bernardino Sun.