Ex-Police Chief Used Misleading Stats to Lobby Against San Diego Dispensaries

Former Chief of Police Shelley Zimmerman introduced deceptive knowledge to the San Diego City Council final yr in an effort to sway them towards approving hashish companies, an investigation has revealed.  Zimmerman retired from the San Diego Police Department in March of this yr.

At a gathering in September 2017, the council was contemplating proposals to allow a authorized provide chain of hashish cultivators, producers, and check labs within the metropolis. Zimmerman appeared earlier than the council members and warned them not to permit extra pot companies.

“The negative consequences and secondary effects of the legal marijuana industry being allowed to operate on a larger scale in our city of San Diego are enormous,” Zimmerman stated. “I urge you not to allow any further marijuana facilities within our city.”

To again up her claims, Zimmerman cited 272 radio requires police service at medical marijuana dispensaries within the metropolis. She stated the calls have been for “burglaries, robberies, thefts, assaults, and shootings, just to name a few.”

She additionally informed council members that marijuana companies made neighborhoods unsafe so they need to not permit extra.

“Some of you have said that public safety is also your No. 1 priority,” stated Zimmerman. “I hope you do keep that in mind when you cast your vote today.”

Activists Question Chief’s Claims

Terrie Best, the San Diego chapter chair of Americans for Safe Access, advised High Times that she and others attending the assembly have been puzzled. She stated San Diego’s hashish group had been monitoring crime at dispensaries.

“We were all there with our mouths hanging open because we have been watching,” she stated. “Of course we want to know if there is crime in our community, so we have a watch. I think everybody wondered what she meant because that wasn’t what we were finding.”

Unwilling the depart the chief’s claims unchallenged, Best and members of ASA filed a request for extra info underneath the California Public Records Act. To analyze the info, Best sought the help of retired Lt. Diane Goldstein of the Redondo Beach Police Department. Goldstein can also be the board chair for the Law Enforcement Action Partnership, a gaggle of regulation enforcement professionals and others working to finish the War on Drugs.

After finishing her evaluation, Goldstein characterised Zimmerman’s presentation as “sloppy, unprofessional, and based on ideology,” in accordance to native media stories.

Chief Cites Police Calls Unrelated to Pot Businesses

More than 25 % of the police service calls cited by Zimmerman was not truly to a dispensary, however moderately an adjoining or close by enterprise that shared a road handle in an workplace constructing or shopping center. Further, most of the calls weren’t for felony exercise.

One incident was a name to help a lady who had fallen within the parking zone of medical workplace constructing and was having hassle respiration. The reported tackle was for a ache administration middle, however the name was included in Zimmerman’s statistics as a result of a dispensary can also be situated in the identical constructing and shares the parking zone.

In one other name, a involved driver referred to as to report a truck being operated recklessly on the freeway. Because police occurred to meet the caller for particulars on the identical block as a dispensary, Zimmerman included that decision in her numbers, as nicely. Other calls famous by the previous chief have been prank calls from parking zone payphones, false alarms from safety techniques, and tow truck requests.

Public Servant or Authoritarian?

Goldstein believes that Zimmerman and SDPD have been trying to thwart the desire of the individuals.

“This is their way of trying to undermine the passage of Proposition 64,” she stated.

Zimmerman’s attraction had its meant impact with a least some council members. Councilwoman Lori Zapf referred to as for her colleagues to be a part of her in heeding Zimmerman’s warning.

“I think we should listen to our police chief,” stated Zapf. “We were elected if nothing else to oversee public safety and we’re just absolutely going down the wrong road.”

In the top, Zapf was within the minority and the council voted 6-Three to permit up to 40 licenses for hashish companies by the town.

But the previous chief’s phrases are nonetheless having their meant impact in different cities in San Diego County. Chief Frank McCoy of the Oceanside Police Department just lately used Zimmerman’s statistics in a bid to affect the town council there not to approve hashish companies. And opponents of a hashish ordinance in Imperial Beach additionally cited the feedback from Zimmerman at a gathering of that city’s metropolis council.

When a reporter requested Zimmerman to touch upon the knowledge she introduced to the town council, the previous chief declined to be interviewed.

“I’m really not interested in talking to you,” she stated earlier than hanging up.


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