By John Woolfolk Contra Costa Times
SAN JOSE, Calif. — Police Chief Chris Moore said Wednesday he's launching an internal investigation into who in his department leaked a photograph of a traffic ticket issued to Mayor Chuck Reed that quickly circulated online and among news reporters.
In a memorandum to the department, Moore issued a stern warning to officers that such conduct violates department policy.
"The individuals found to be responsible will be subject to discipline," Moore said. "I must emphasize that this investigation has nothing to do with the traffic stop or the citation. It is solely focused on the inappropriate release of information via social media."
Reed has drawn national attention and invoked the wrath of the San Jose Police Officers' Association and other unions for a June ballot measure to pare city worker pensions whose costs have more than tripled in a decade. Voters overwhelmingly approved the measure and the officers' union is suing to block its provisions, arguing it violates vested benefit rights.
Reed was driving his blue Toyota Prius to City Hall at 7:35 a.m. when he was pulled over for allegedly failing to signal a turn at the intersection of North White and Mabury roads.
Department spokesman Jason Dwyer said the interaction between Officer Kevin Kyono, the only officer on the scene, and the mayor lasted less than 16 minutes. Moore described it in his memo as "low key and professional."
"What occurred next was incredibly disappointing and professionally embarrassing to all of us," Moore continued. "Some time after the conclusion of the stop, one of our officers took a photograph of the citation, and it was made available to the public via social media."
Police said they do not have the ability to report how often turn-signal citations are issued compared with other traffic violations, but Dwyer said they are not uncommon. The department is considering requests to release dispatch records of the traffic stop.
But Moore added that contrary to a reports circulated Tuesday, Reed didn't call him "seeking my intervention."
"In fact, the only time I have spoken to the mayor since the incident was a telephone call that I placed to him this morning to apologize—not for the citation, rather for the unprofessional conduct of our personnel," Moore said. "I realize that we, as a department and a city, have been through an extraordinarily difficult period. That said, we must maintain our professionalism at all times."
Copyright 2012 Contra Costa Times
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