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Back to Section One | Back to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, January 14, 2011 - Volume 39 Issue 02
Palm Springs police chief steps down over Gay slurs
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Palm Springs police chief steps down over Gay slurs

by Shaun Knittel - SGN Associate Editor

The Chief of Police of Palm Springs, David Dominquez, has stepped down after an inquiry revealed that he and other officers made anti-Gay slurs while conducting an undercover sex-sting operation targeting Gays having sex in public in the city's Warm Sands neighborhood.

Dominquez's January 5 decision to retire came a week after he issued a public apology for his 'inappropriate comment,' which led to a city inquiry into the incident and the complaints that the police were unfairly targeting Gays.

'After careful consideration of the events surrounding the Warm Sands undercover operation, I believe this decision is in the best interest of my family, the city, and the police department,' Dominquez, a 31-year law enforcement veteran, said in a statement.

The inquiry's report found that a number of officers made anti-Gay slurs during the undercover operation in June 2009, in which officers acted as decoys to crack down on sexual activity in an area known for drug sales and reports of lewd conduct. The officers in question have since been disciplined.

In addition, based on the results of the report, city leaders promised that all city workers would receive LGBT sensitivity training.

Palm Spring's openly Gay mayor, Steve Pougnet, said the chief's decision to retire will allow the city to 'begin the healing process' over the controversy.

'We must now redouble out efforts to promote and improve relations with the LGBT community and all of our diverse communities,' Pougnet said in a statement. 'Only genuine demonstrations of respect, openness, and participation will build understanding trust and acceptance over time.'

The news out of Palm Springs was particularly shocking because the city is known as a Gay mecca of sorts. Gay resorts, sunny weather, and a long history of being a Gay travel destination attract thousands of LGBT tourists year-round.

Capt. Al Franz, a member of the Palm Springs Police Department since 1987, will serve as interim police chief while the city searches for a replacement.

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