Honesty of city cops put to test

It looks like the internal affairs unit at the SFPD that we told you about might already be hard at work testing the ethics of city police officers.

The Police Officers Association has heard several reports of random citizens turning in wallets and other valuables to police officers, then not sticking around to file a report. The union suggests that the citizens may actually be members of internal affairs testing the officers to see if they pocket the goods.

Here’s the excerpt from the union’s latest newsletter:

“Some very disturbing reports from the field have surfaced lately regarding some very peculiar circumstances. Wallets or pocketbooks containing money and property have been handed to police officers on the street by 'citizens' claiming to have found them. Officers involved and or aware of such incidents have found the 'citizens' behavior to be curious and not consistent with that of an ordinary citizen turning found property over to an officer. Training and experience have taught us that a great majority of citizens in a similar circumstance will most often stay with the officer long enough to give a statement and information for a report to be generated. They also tend to remain long enough to go over the contents within the found wallet or pocketbook. In these reported cases, the “citizen” will approach the officer and haphazardly hand over the property and quickly walk away without any further contact or explanation.

I and several veteran police officers I’ve spoken to about this matter are aware of similar practices conducted by entities within a particular police department or law enforcement agency when there seems to be a personnel problem or issue with honesty and/or integrity. I do not or will not believe for one moment that our members falter when it comes to matters such as this. Our members have been trained and are absolutely experienced in knowing and practicing what policies and procedures must be followed in such cases or incidents. I don’t know if these are just isolated incidents or a concerted experimental effort on the part of others to challenge our members, but I dare say we are clearly up to anybody’s scrutiny. Enough said …”

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