News Channel 3 has learned that Palm Springs city attorney Doug Holland has taken over the internal investigation regarding how the police department conducted the controversial 2009 sex stings in the Warm Sands area.
Holland said he has an independent investigator working under his supervision conducting interviews and reviewing video regarding the stings.
He said everyone in the police department involved in the stings are being reviewed including police chief David Dominguez.
“Police chief David Dominguez was one of the members of the police department that was out at the site for a period of time on one of the evenings,” said Holland, who also mentioned Dominguez was simply an observer on scene.
Dominguez didn’t take any direct control over the operation or attempt to supervise, according to Holland.
Dominguez was out of town Wednesday and was unavailable for an on-camera interview.
But he confirmed with News Channel 3 that he was on-scene one night for less than an hour.
When asked if Dominguez was undercover that night, Holland said, “No, he was not undercover. He did go out to take a look at the operation and was on the site while the operation was going on.”
Dominguez said he started this investigation and then handed it off to the city attorney.
“I think what jump started it was the initial concern over the fact that there may be some bias on the part of certain officers towards gays,” said Holland.
The investigation was launched six weeks ago after allegations of misconduct surfaced when one officer used a gay slur that was caught on tape, according to Holland.
When asked if Dominguez was in the room or in the area when an officer supposedly used an anti-gay slur, Holland said, “Those are issues that we are reviewing.”
“I’ve been somewhat involved since we had a guest that was arrested here and we were very concerned that it would impact our business,” said Doug Wylie, who has owned the Warm Sands Villas Hotel for 10 years.
He said he is pleased the city attorney’s office has taken over the review.
But he holds no ill will towards the police department.
“I think they’ve done an excellent job,” he said. “They have been meeting with representatives from the neighborhood.”
Wylie said he appreciates all the police department has done to keep his neighborhood safe.
“If we have to take disciplinary action, then we take disciplinary action,” said Holland. “But the idea is to have a full understanding as to all actions and all activity and the context of those actions.”
Dominguez said sex sting operations like this one are no longer active.
Holland said portions of the review will be made public once completed.