Police Complaints

CPC 192-10: Attack of the Bikini Cops

Date of Incident or Complaint:
Date Published or Updated on Web Site:
Complainant:

It's like a scene from a silly cop show when Leah Kelly and Jennifer Jara jump out of their car, dressed in bikini tops with pistols tucked into their short-shorts.

Summary of Allegations:

The story of this complaint made the local television news, which conducted an interview with the complainant.

From the complaint:

I was driving on I-25…. Two women began chasing me on the freeway. A female Officer Burge stopped me. The 2 women who were chasing me got out of their truck. They were wearing bikinis and had guns tucked into their shorts. They accused me of being drunk. I was not. Officer Burge let me go.

Citizen also alleges that either Kelly or Jara yelled at him in an angry manner and behaved in an unprofessional and insulting way.

Alleged SOP Violations

    1-04-1 COMPLIANCE WITH LAWS, RULES, AND REGULATIONS
      F. Personnel shall conduct themselves both on and off-duty in such a manner as to reflect most favorably on the department.
      G. Conduct unbecoming an officer or employee shall include:
        1. That which could bring the department into disrepute; or
        2. That which impairs the operation or efficiency of the department.

Summary of Findings:

Regarding Officer Kelly, 1-04-1-F:

Exonerated

Given the way Officers J[ara] and K[elly] were dressed, Officer B[urge] felt they should have remained in their car. Because of this, she felt the officers behaved unprofessionally.

Officer K[elly] assumed the role of back-up officer, despite [citizen’s] and Officer B[urge]‘s claiming that such action was not necessary. Officer K[elly] was physically ill-equipped to handle things if they went badly.

Nevertheless, Kelly was exonerated of unprofessional behavior, even though Officer Burge expressed her view during the investigation that Kelly’s behavior was unprofessional and unnecessary.

Regarding Officer Kelly, 1-04-1-G1:

SUSTAINED

There was no reason for Officer K[elly] to get out of her vehicle once the on-duty officer arrived unless that officer had needed assistance. Considering Officer K[elly]‘s attire and the absence of a reason for her to be out of her car, Officer K[elly] should have stayed in her vehicle.

Regarding Officer Jara, 1-04-1-G 1&2:

SUSTAINED

The accounts of all four individuals differ. [Citizen] stated that the one non-uniformed officer yelled at him and was accusatory. Officer B[urge] tried to conduct an investigation into the issue, but Officer J[ara]‘s approach and loud vocalizations caused [citizen]‘s attention to be divided. Both [citizen] and Officer B[urge] agree that Officer B[urge] asked [citizen] to step out of the vehicle and that [citizen] complied. However, Officers K[elly] and J[ara] contended that [citizen] exited his vehicle without reason and that they were wary of his intentions. Officer B[urge] claimed Officer K[elly] and J[ara] spoke to [citizen] outside of her hearing. However Officer K[elly] and J[ara] both claimed that Officer B[urge] was with them the whole time and they did not engage [citizen] in conversations unaccompanied. Officer J[ara] admitted to questioning [citizen] and reaching into his vehicle to retrieve the bottle in order to confirm or deny her suspicions of what [citizen] was drinking. Given the circumstances, this overstepped Officer J[ara]‘s responsibilities in an off-duty capacity when an on-duty officer was present. Based on the statements from Officer B[urge], Officer J[ara]‘s actions impaired Officer B[urge]‘s ability to conduct an investigation and Officer J[ara] should have recognized she was not properly equipped to handle hands-on law enforcement duties. This issue is sustained.