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Pismo Beach police officer resigns after misconduct investigation

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Posted at 7:56 PM, Jul 21, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-23 12:52:38-04

The City of Pismo Beach released multiple documents on Thursday related to the recent resignation of a police officer who was accused of having sexual relations while on duty.

According to the documents, on Feb. 15, 2022, a woman submitted a written complaint to Pismo Beach Police Chief Jeff Smith regarding her relationship with then-Sgt. Adrian Souza.

The woman involved is former KSBY news reporter Angel Russell. She was not working for KSBY during the time of her relationship with Souza.

In her complaint, Russell claims the consensual relationship began shortly after Souza stopped her for a traffic violation in June 2020.

She says during the relationship, they would meet while he was on duty at locations including Judkins Middle School and the Shell Beach tennis courts. He also visited her at her apartment several times while on duty, in uniform and driving a police vehicle. She claims they engaged in sex acts during those visits at her apartment.

Russell provided police with text exchanges, photos and videos to back up her claims.

The day after receiving the complaint, Chief Smith ordered an internal affairs investigation into the allegations and Souza was placed on paid administrative leave.

Documents show that during the investigation, Souza admitted to having oral sex while on duty.

Upon conclusion of the investigation, Chief Smith notified Souza of his intent to terminate him but Souza resigned on June 10, before his termination became effective.

In a notice sent to Souza, Smith wrote that the investigation found Souza violated 13 city policies, including neglect of duty, willful misconduct, engaging in on-duty sexual activity, and criminal, dishonest or disgraceful conduct.

On Thursday, city officials released the following statement: “The City of Pismo Beach has made available redacted records pertaining to former Sergeant Souza, consistent with California law. These records and related investigation materials indicate that the former officer engaged in inappropriate conduct while on duty with a consenting adult partner. When first alerted to this conduct, the City took action within hours and proceeded to conduct a lengthy and thorough investigation. The Sergeant is no longer a member of the Pismo Beach Police Department as he chose to resign prior to the conclusion of the disciplinary process.”

Souza is not facing any criminal charges related to the investigation.

His attorney, Michael P.R. Reed, told KSBY News, "Mr. Souza was a great cop. He is well respected in the community. When it comes to protecting and serving the public, he is one of the best."