Report cites concerns over Tahoe PD |

Report cites concerns over Tahoe PD

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE — South Lake Tahoe’s police agency is “a department in crisis” led by a chief who displayed “conduct unbecoming a police officer” during a verbal altercation at a restaurant in 2006, an El Dorado County grand jury said in a report.

The report, released Tuesday, suggested management training for agency leaders and closer oversight of the department by the City Council.

City Manager David Jinkens questioned the factual basis of the grand jury’s findings. Police Chief Terry Daniels did not immediately comment.

The El Dorado civil grand jury convenes to oversee local government. The grand jury has 16 members and can make recommendations, but it does not have enforcement authority.

According to the report, several witness reported Daniels, while having breakfast at a restaurant in September, 2006, lost his temper with another restaurant customer.

“The chief of police, by losing his temper in public and verbally berating a citizen of South Lake Tahoe in a public restaurant, acted in an inappropriate manner and displayed conduct unbecoming a police officer,” the report said.

The report also raised concerns over a 2007 survey of police staff that was critical of police leadership.

“The evidence received by the grand jury paints a picture of a department in crisis,” the grand jury said. “Many of the statements made by members of the SLTPD and information gathered through documents can only be classified as troubling.”

It recommended revitalization of the Participative Management Team, which allows employee input in agency decisions.

City Councilwoman Kathay Lovell also questioned the grand jury’s findings.

“I don’t have a lot of faith in this particular grand jury’s findings,” she said, citing errors later corrected in a previous report by the panel regarding county fire districts, and a report on the Clean Tahoe program she feels is unsatisfactory.

Under California law, the city has 90 days to respond to the recommendations in the grand jury’s report.

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