On Kathy's request, reposting
- Iolmisha@... wrote:
Apr 15, 2008 6:00 AM (20 hrs ago) by Brent Begin, The Examiner
20 hrs ago: Officer in charge of evidence accused of theft
(Cindy Chew/The Examiner)
(After she was involved in a shooting, Officer Michelle Alvis 's role as manager of the Taraval Station).
Officer in charge of evidence accused of theft A San Francisco police officer assigned to handle evidence was arraigned for allegedly stealing from the department and doctoring reports to hide the crime.
SAN FRANCISCO - A San Francisco police officer assigned to handle evidence will be arraigned today for allegedly stealing from the department and doctoring reports to hide the crime.
Officer Michelle Alvis, a five-year veteran of the Police Department, was assigned as the Taraval Station manager â€” a job that involved documenting evidence being sent to police headquarters â€” after her involvement in a fatal 2006 officer-involved shooting. She was arrested Friday and released on bail after a grand jury indictment of grand theft involving an incident on Oct. 31, 2006.
Although a grand jury indictment that details the charges is sealed, a brief police incident report accuses Alvis of grand theft, filing a false report, preparing false documentary evidence and two counts of willful loss or destruction of records by officer entrusted.
A conviction of grand theft alone could result in a sentence of three years in prison, depending on the value of the goods stolen.
While the Police Department and the District Attorneyâ€™s Office declined to comment on the specifics of the indictment, the president of San Franciscoâ€™s police union, Gary Delagnes, expressed doubt that an officer in her position would steal from the department when all fingers would point back in her direction.â€œThis is a question of on-duty conduct and sheâ€™s one of our members, so weâ€™ll stand by her as this thing plays out,â€ Delagnes said. â€œI guess the grand jury must have seen something.â€
This is not the first time Alvis has been the center of controversy. Six months before the alleged theft, on June 6, 2006, Alvis shot and killed 25-year-old Asa Sullivan in the attic of a Villas Parkmerced apartment.
At the time of the shooting, Alvis was accompanied by Officer John Keesor, who had fired the first shot because he said Sullivan was holding a â€œcylindrical itemâ€ that later was determined to be an eyeglass case, according to police.
The bullet ricocheted and hit Alvisâ€™ ear and she fired, according to the police account. Sullivan was shot 16 times, according to the medical examinerâ€™s report. Police have yet to release incident reports related to the officer-involved shooting.
Sullivanâ€™s family is suing the department in federal court for $10 million.
Alvisâ€™ attorney, Lydia Stiglich, did not return calls late Monday afternoon for comment.
A nauseating synopsis of Civilian review process, days before the PD assasination of Asa Sullivan, and mention of Alvin's attorney, often used by the POA as an "expert": Lydia Stiglish
The POA Journal Article
Police Summit a Great Success, 7/1/2006A fact-finding summit that focused on the current state of discipline and civilian review within the SFPD was recently convened at the University of San Francisco. On May 30 and June 1, 2006, a very distinguished panel invited witnesses to appear before them to discuss the quagmire that currently entangles the SF Police Commission, OCC, MCD, and which has adversely affected the near-lifeless morale of the police rank-and-file. It was a very interesting and informative event, sorely needed, and I anxiously await the expertsâ€™ recommendations for fixing this utterly dysfunctional system.
The conference was appropriately hosted by The International Institute of Criminal Justice Leadership and was co-chaired by former San Francisco Police Chief Tony Ribera, and former SF Mayor and Chief of Police Frank Jordan. Joining them on the panel was the Dean of San Francisco Law School, Joe Russoniello; John Dineen, Senior consultant from POST; retired FBI agent George Grotz, now representing Data 911; Yumi Wilson, Professor of Journalism at San Francisco State; Superior Court Judge Lillian Sing; and Civil Service Commissioner Morgan Gorrono.
The panelists represented a broad political spectrum and each has a unique perspective on San Francisco law enforcement.
Those invited to address the panel were just as diverse, and composed a whoâ€™s who SFPD experts. They ranged from
Police Commissioners Theresa Sparks and Louise Renne, to Mark Schlosberg from the ACLU,
Kevin Allen from OCC,
Chief Heather Fong, me,
POA legal coordinator Steve Johnson,
Deputy Chief Morris Tabak,
Deputy Chief Tony Parra,
Captain Paul Chignell,
Inspector Lea Millatello,
The Mayorâ€™s Director of Criminal justice, Allen Nance,
as well as several other prominent people involved in the disciplinary process of the SFPD.
It was truly refreshing to see, for the first time, people that have been involved in the criminal justice system asking police commissioners, the OCC, and the ACLU tough questions about how they conduct business with regards to the disciplinary process, and how that conduct is juxtaposed to the rights of individual police officers.
The panel heard many hours of testimony over the 2-day period, but it was quite obvious from the questions asked, and the inquiries made, that some recurring issues need to be dealt with by the mayorâ€™s office.
It would not appear practical to bring all of the concerned parties into negotiations without the Mayorâ€™s office intervening and directing the process.
As I saw it, the issues that were most often addressed by the experts, and which are in most need of fixing are:
Discipline and Civilian Oversight
â€¢ The interaction between the Police Commission, the Police Department, The OCC, and the POA is nearly non-existent. The relationships are so fractured and mired in bitterness and distrust that no meaningful progress can be made without the involvement of City Hall. Nothing in the police discipline/community oversight system is more important than trust, communication, and professional cooperation. These elements need to be addressed first and foremost if any headway is to be made in the overhaul of the discipline system.
â€¢ Too many disciplinary cases are being handled at the Police Commission level rendering it nothing more then a disciplinary body. To address this backlog of disciplinary cases, the Chiefâ€™s suspension powers should be broadened to at least 50 days and perhaps 90. Also, independent hearing officers need to be utilized in order to expedite less serious disciplinary matters
â€¢ The initial intake system at OCC needs to be revamped. There needs to be a practical way to triage citizen complaints to sort out the legitimate complaints from the spurious, vindictive, or just plain crank or lunatic beefs. On that point, the OCC and its supporters need to get real and acknowledge that a sizable percentage of the complaints fall into the latter category and dismiss them out of hand.
â€¢ A comprehensive â€œCareer Developmentâ€ program needs to be established in the SFPD to enhance and expand an officerâ€™s career potential. Rotation, variety of assignments, and non-stop training are the keys to bringing this department into the new century.
â€¢ â€œPerformance appraisalsâ€ must be revised to truly establish a system that fairly and equitably judges an officerâ€™s performance.
â€¢ An â€œEarly Intervention Systemâ€ that is fair to all parties and is not seen as much as a punitive tool as a monitoring tool should be implemented as soon as possible.
Dr. Joel Fay, a police psychologist, presented some of the most interesting testimony. He testified that police officers cannot and will not respond to a disciplinary process that does not have a clear delineation of supervision. He stated that, â€œDiscipline in the SFPD is the equivalent of being punished by the mother for one offense, the father for another, and the entire neighborhood for yet another. â€œCops operate under a para-military structure, they understand and accept discipline, but it must be fair and consistent. They must know who is in charge or they will shut down.â€
Attorney Lydia Stiglich, a career defense attorney whose deft legal prowess is used frequently by the POA, also offered very compelling testimony. She testified that the most shocking revelation to her was the fact that many factions in society and in the criminal justice system donâ€™t view police officers as human beings. She also said that it was amazing to her that a city that is so adamant about defending the rights of all citizens seems to completely disregard that philosophy when the citizen happens to be a police officer.
I am confident that, when the panel issues its report and recommendations, a rebuilding process can and should begin. The time is ripe for a practical overhaul of the crucial police oversight function.
That being said, I also must caution all San Franciscans that, if a professional and trusted oversight process is not soon put into place, the city stands to lose scores, if not hundreds, of first class police recruits.
The retention and recruitment situation is dire. If the department continues to lose top tier candidates to other cities because of a ludicrous and disreputable system of civilian oversight, progressive law enforcement in San Francisco will grind to a halt.
The committeeâ€™s recommendations will be made public in the next few weeks and the Mayorâ€™s office would be very wise to consider them carefully if they are concerned about the state of the San Francisco Police Department.
PS: In another shinning example of the SF Chronicleâ€™s objectivity it should be noted that the renowned author of the hit piece against our officers was present during the entire two days of testimony yet not one word about the summit was printed in the local fish wrap.
Gee, I guess real facts just donâ€™t jibe with the Chronâ€™s editorial philosophy, or its desire to completely demoralize the SFPD.