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Posted on 10.12.2012 10:01 p.m.

Santa Barbara Police Officers Association Backs Officer Kasi Beutel

Statement rebukes newspaper series by DUI defendant Peter Lance

Source: Santa Barbara Police Officers Association

Over the past year, the Santa Barbara News-Press has published a series of articles written by Peter Lance, a criminal defendant in a driving-under-the-influence case. The articles attacked the Santa Barbara Police Department officer who arrested him, Kasi Beutel, personally and professionally.

Lance made allegations about the legality of the traffic stop and the validity of his breath test. He accused Officer Beutel of forging his signature and attempted to “investigate” her personal life by questioning her friends and family about her activities.

His behavior seems both obsessive and paranoid, and goes beyond the usual antics of DUI defendants seeking to avoid conviction. Alleging officer incompetence, equipment malfunction or simply refusing to take responsibility are all typical evasive actions taken by DUI defendants. Lance exceeded this; his personal attacks on Officer Beutel and her husband were (and still are) distasteful and wildly inaccurate.

The Santa Barbara Police Officers Association has, out of an abundance of caution and respect for the criminal justice process, not commented on Lance’s behavior while his trial was under way.

Though that time period was stressful and upsetting for Officer Beutel, who was relentlessly being attacked at a level that no professional should have to endure, fellow officers were only able to privately express their support for her, and their disappointment at the standards of “journalism” demonstrated by the News-Press. Many urged the SBPOA leadership to aggressively and publicly support Officer Beutel, but we felt it inappropriate to add fuel to the fire and did not want to be accused of attempting to interfere with the criminal case.

Now the News-Press has elected to revisit this issue, and has begun publishing yet another series of unjustified, irrelevant and inaccurate attack pieces against Beutel. Though we believe in and support the freedom of the press, with such freedom comes a great responsibility. The SBPOA is greatly disappointed that the News-Press continues to engage in sub-par journalistic practices and allows Lance, who has clearly demonstrated a personal vendetta against Officer Beutel, to once again co-opt the front page of their paper.

We also would like to take this opportunity to state our unwavering support of Officer Beutel, who is one of the most decorated and successful DUI officers in the history of the Santa Barbara Police Department, with more than 600 arrests in two years as a DDT Officer, SBPD Officer of the Year for 2010 and who was the recipient of the 2009 and 2010 Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) Awards.

Beutel is a respected member of this department, passed an extensive background investigation prior to becoming a police officer, and demonstrated a high level of competence and dedication throughout her DUI enforcement assignment.

Lance’s one-sided and spiteful vilification of an excellent police officer, mother and wife, who works diligently to provide this community with dedicated police service, is a travesty of journalism. We rebuke Lance and the Santa Barbara News-Press for these writings, which are clearly intended to incite unjustified animus toward both Officer Beutel and all Santa Barbara police officers who serve your community.

» on 10.13.12 @ 12:51 PM

Poor Beutel.  Accused of serious breaches of ethics if not violation of law, with testimony and evidence presented through the media since the SBPD and City will not respond to complaints.  The more they stonewall, the guiltier she appears.  And this article is a perfect example of ‘the blue wall’ in action.  I have gone from looking for independent investigation (promised but never delivered) to believing that she is guilty.

» on 10.13.12 @ 04:38 PM

@John Locke:  It may sound like a foreign concept to you, but accused and proven guilty are still two different things.  Have you ever seen the victims of a drunk driving accident?  Personally I am grateful to Officer Beutel for her dedication to keeping drunk drivers off the streets, even those who wiggle out of a DUI conviction.

» on 10.13.12 @ 06:54 PM

My problem with this statement by the union is that it declares the innocence of Beutel without possibly knowing if this is true. It is one thing to suggest the News-Press accounts of Beutel’s activities were unfair, but to suggest they know she is not guilty of the detailed evidence-based accusations Lance has launched against her is presumptuous to say the least.

The latest series in the News-Press is very disturbing. The pictures of the video, where Beutel is seen kneeling on the floor only minutes before another officer finds a bag of heroin in the same location, is very suspicious. The woman who is accused of possession of heroin has her blood tested for the drug and none is found in her body. The judge drops the possession charge against her because of the suspicious circumstances surrounding this incident. According to the News-Press story she has no history of drug abuse.

To dismiss the above incident, the alleged forgeries and her past personal history without an impartial, independent investigation is the real problem in this case. I would like to know what evidence the police association has for it to be so certain of her innocence.

» on 10.14.12 @ 03:30 AM

To be so certain of her innocence. She is not. But because of Santa Barbara being a tourist town, they are not going to blow the whistle on one of theirs. Sad… I know people who have received a ticket from her, she said they did not make a complete stop.& they hit the evidence. Something is not right!!!

» on 10.14.12 @ 12:59 PM

I have no clue if officer Beutel is corrupt, but what is missed in all of this is that even though Peter Lance got off of some legal wrangling and procedural technicalities… he still drove drunk.  It may be a personal victory for him to beat the system at their own game, but the rest of us could give a bleep…a drunk driver got away.

» on 10.14.12 @ 01:34 PM

My point, interloper, is that I now “know” that Beutel is guilty because of the extensive and repeated efforts by the SBPD, the city attorney, the city manager, and the mayor, to prevent the full facts of the story from becoming public.  Just like so many people “know” that Bush was guilty of lying about WMD.  Of course there is a difference between accused and guilty - clearly many people (the Bush haters being a classic example) don’t know the difference. 

I’m still looking for a response to the accusations - the silence is what convinces me there’s a coverup.  Just imagine, if Beutel were found guilty, all of her “heroic” DUI arrests would be called into question and the city would be buried in lawsuits.  Ya think that might have something to do with the city’s silence?

» on 10.14.12 @ 04:58 PM

Special thanks to the Police for finally speaking up publicly on this embarrassing
vendetta being waged by the weird Mr. Lance and the weird News-Press owners.

In all his limitless verbiage, Lance has never actually denied being behind the wheel at the time he was cited, nor denied having consumed alcoholic beverages on the evening of his citation. I wonder why not? Ha, ha.

Those who know Lance are aware of his interesting personality, which few would
confuse with “shy, retiring, introverted”.

The bigger issues are why the News-Press owner wishes to associate herself and
her newspaper with the angry, verbose Mr. Lance, and his lawyer, Mr. Genis?

While readers with good memories may recall a similar multi-article obsession
about some lost Meerkats many years ago, even that kerfluffle never approached
the space given to Lance’s meandering meanness and Genis’ mindset against law enforcement.

The question is, why?

Perhaps the answer is split between the famous DUI that cost the News-Press its former editorial director several years ago, and the enforcement history waged
by the authorities a generation ago on Coast Village Rd., regarding the swinging
emporium of Champagne, liquor, and powdered enhancers known as Nippers,
which was owned and operated by the current consort of the News-Press owner, and her paper’s co-publisher.

Why else would anyone in their right mind waste so much space riffing off of a
DUI citation to irascible Peter Lance?

Thank goodness, trained and sworn safety professionals have finally had enough
to stand up in support of their program and colleagues.

Most NP readers had had enough after Lance’s first series.

Pity the NP paid editors, writers, interns, who feel flogged by job preservation to
keep toadying to their boss, and keeping this “story” alive, month after month.

» on 10.14.12 @ 06:32 PM

Publius, it would be much more helpful if you refuted the many specific allegations of misconduct by Beutel with evidence or facts only you may be aware of. So far, the News-Press has provided a mountain of evidence to support the allegations and you have only pontificated about your visceral dislike of the News-Press owners. I don’t think it is too difficult to figure out whether you or the News-Press is more objective about the SBPD?

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