PAPD Pat Down Policy – Police Auditors Report

In the 90’s, **Luis Verbrea had his admirers too – Dennis Burns and Pat Dwyer.
Police Auditors Report December 2009 – Complaint of Unnecessary Search and Discourtesy  #C-2009-001
Do we have another “ticking time bomb” on the PAPD force?

“Synopsis: An officer pulled a motorist over because she had a non-functioning taillight. When the motorist could not produce a driver’s license, the officer discovered that the motorist’s driver’s license had been suspended.

The officer informed the motorist that he would need to have the car towed and performed a cursory pat down search of the woman before allowing her to remove personal items from the car.

The motorist later complained to the Department that the officer had been officious, discourteous and that the pat down was intrusive and unnecessary.

Recommendation: The complaint investigation was conducted promptly and thoroughly. The Auditor reviewed the original officer’s citation, the investigator’s interviews and report, the investigator’s supervisor’s evaluation, and the MAV videotapes in this case.

We concluded that the officer maintained a professional demeanor during the incident. The pat down search, while not always employed in these circumstances, constituted a justifiable precaution to employ with a somewhat uncooperative motorist and was minimally intrusive.

(On or off camera Mr. Gennaco?)

We note that the PAPD does not have a policy that specifies that a pat down must or should be done by an officer of the same sex.

Resolution/Corrective Action: The complainant was notified of the results of the investigation by letter.”

PAFP notes: Gennaco makes no note or recommendation of any, any policy change period and REFUSES to re-investigate any sexual misconduct by the stopping / offending officer. * Italics added

Norristown officer a ‘ticking time bomb’

By Craig R. McCoy

Inquirer Staff Writer

The police chief of Norristown wanted to fire Claude Lacombe, an officer with a reputation for arrogance and aggression.  “A ticking time bomb,” former Chief Thomas Stone says now. “There was a whole list of things that said to anyone with any grain of sense,

‘You’ve got to get rid of this person.’ ”

The town finally did fire Lacombe – after he forced a woman he stopped while on patrol to have oral sex. He ended up going to prison, and the borough was forced to pay $372,000 to his alleged victims. It settled the last of two lawsuits in 2004.

Lacombe had his admirers during his four years on the force in the 1990s. Once commended for bravery during a riot, Lacombe harassed drug dealers and piled up arrests.  He also was known for being “aggressive… violent, even,” in the words of Lacombe’s former lawyer.

In his first three years, he crashed four patrol cars.  Stone says he wanted to fire him, but was overruled by Lacombe’s supporters in the town hall. “All of the warning signs that I took to them, they tossed aside,” he said recently.

In a recent interview, former Norristown Mayor Jack Salamone praised Lacombe, saying: “He was energetic. He was pretty good with the public.”  Salamone said he did not recall the effort to fire Lacombe. “At my age, it’s not that easy to remember,” said Salamone, 67.

In 1996, one Norristown woman later said, Lacombe turned sexual predator after he answered a domestic-abuse call. He flirted, commented on her breasts, and finally pulled her hand onto his crotch.

It left her feeling afraid and demeaned. “It was way past official police business,” she said during a court hearing.

For all of Lacombe’s troubles, Stone said, he never heard him described as a sexual abuser until after Feb. 2, 1997 – the night Lacombe went on an on-duty sexual hunt.

As recounted in a lawsuit, it began with a 16-year-old girl being caught riding in a stolen car. She said Lacombe touched her breast during a search.  At 4:30 a.m., prosecutors allege, Lacombe picked up another 16-year-old, whose family he knew, offering a ride home. He pulled over on the way and suggested a “little play.” She refused; Lacombe took her home.

Almost a half-hour later, prosecutors said, he picked up a 42-year-old woman he spotted walking drunkenly by the side of the road. He drove to a dark alley and forced her to give him oral sex.

“I tried to hold my dress and my stockings together. I was screaming, ‘Stop! What are you doing?’ ” the woman later said.  Lacombe was fired in 1997, then arrested on charges of indecent assault, corruption of a minor, and official oppression.

A jury cleared him of wrongdoing in connection with the 16-year-old girl from the family he knew, but convicted him in the attack on the woman.  He was not charged in connection with the other teen, but Norristown paid $122,000 to settle her civil lawsuit.

After serving 71/2 years in prison, Lacombe, now 37, was paroled last year and lives in Philadelphia, according to the state’s Megan’s Law Web site. He did not respond to letters seeking comment.

Stone, who travels the country as a police consultant, says he keeps seeing other departments making the same mistakes, failing to deal with their problem employees. “It’s deliberate indifference,” he said. “Agencies are not focused on that, and the next thing you know, tragedy happens.”

**Luis Verbrea – Who was he?

Prominent Palo Alto Cop Accused of Sexual Battery

Police Officer Faces Sex Charges / Cop accused of fondling women during searches

One Reply to “PAPD Pat Down Policy – Police Auditors Report”

  1. To those who should know,

    The Palo Alto Independent Police Auditor Michael Gennaco is NOT independent, because he is not allowed to investigate citizens’ complaints, he can only review investigations initiated by the Palo Alto Police.

    Though Mr. Gennaco was capable of writing up an official report given to the City Council of Palo Alto regarding the “gaps in the time stamp of a taser video” and the “switching of modes of the taser guns” which resulted in those gaps in the time stamp on April 13, 2009, Mr. Gennaco in not capable of clarifying what modes he is speaking of, for there is no switching of modes on a taser gun or taser camera.

    Even though Mr. Gennaco was a prosecutor for the United States Department of Justice working in the Civil Rights Division he is not capable of giving his legal opinion on whether or not a woman has right to defend herself from a police officer who is physically and or sexually assaulting her.

    Apparently those women who were sexually assaulted by Palo Alto Police Officer Luis Verbera would have been charged with battery or resisting arrest had they beaten the snot out of Palo Alto Police Officer Louis Verbera to keep Mr. Verbera from touching their bodies inappropriately according to Mr. Gennaco.

    Tony Ciampi




    Fri 12/10/10 1:37 PM


    Tony Ciampi (


    > Dear Mr. Ciampi:

    I must differ with you regarding the role of the IPA. As clearly set out in my contract with the City, our role is to review “investigations” by the PAPD for thoroughness and fairness, not to “investigate” matters ourselves. It is for that reason that I have continued to ask whether you would be agreeable to cooperating with a PAPD investigation that we would then review for thoroughness and fairness. Because we cannot “investigate” matters on our own, those are the options that are available. Your question about the Taser guns are inextricably wrapped up in your civil lawsuit and accordingly I will offer no reply to that question.

    Michael Gennaco


    Date: Fri, 10 Dec 2010 12:39:02 -0800

    > Subject: Re: Are Citizens in the United States Allowed Defend Themselves?

    > From:

    > To:


    > > Mr Ciampi:


    > Your question about an eleven year old case is beyond the role of the IPA.

    > Michael Gennaco
    > > Palo Alto Independent Police Auditor
    > > Michael Gennaco,
    > >
    > > Mr. Gennaco,
    > >
    > > Perhaps it will help if I break up my questions into
    > > seperate emails.
    > >
    > > Would the five women assaulted by Palo Alto Police Officer
    > > Luis Verbera been justified beating Verbera to keep him from
    > > putting his hands on their bodies or should the woman and
    > > others just allow officers like Verbera have their way with
    > > them?
    > >
    > > Please find attached as documents 23 and 24 and also
    > > included below the circumstances surrounding the assaults
    > > committed by Verbera.
    > >
    > >
    > > Joseph (Tony) Ciampi
    > >
    > >

Comments are closed.