http://www.nctimes.com/articles/2007/09/01/news/californian/20_02_748_31_07.txt Team of Temecula officers disbanded, under investigation By: JOHN HALL and JOHN HUNNEMAN - Staff Writers Last modified Friday, August 31, 2007 10:32 PM PDT TEMECULA ---- A special team of police officers who are supposed to target the more serious crimes and criminals in the city has been temporarily disbanded and an internal investigation into their actions is under way, Police Chief Jerry Williams confirmed Friday. While Williams said he could not discuss specifics, he did confirm that a raid conducted by the Street Enforcement Team last week ---- which ended up at the wrong Temecula house ---- is part of the administrative investigation. "We received several allegations (involving the team) and I felt it was necessary to initiate this investigation," said Williams, who was named Temecula's police chief less than a month ago. He said he could not comment further on any of those allegations. The team, which is specifically funded by the city, is composed of a sergeant, a corporal and six officers, Williams said. None of the eight have been placed on leave and all have been reassigned to other duties, the chief said. The investigation is being done by the internal affairs division of the Riverside County Sheriff's Department, which Temecula contracts with for police protection. Williams added that he intends to start up a new team once the administrative investigation is complete. "They are my front-line team," the chief said. "It is critical we keep them out there." Williams said the team is often assigned to particular problem areas or used to address crime trends in the city. The team is also tasked with keeping a close eye on gang members, illegal drug activity and parolees who may be in the city, he said. Williams said he believes the team was supposed to be raiding a parolee's home Aug. 24 when they inadvertently hit the wrong door. Officers ended up at the home of David and Lillian Scott, just off Rancho California Road. Lillian Scott said she and her husband were in the living room discussing family plans, their 15-year-old daughter was in the garage with two friends and their 16-year-old son was in another room feeding the Scotts' 5-month-old baby. That all changed at 9:35 p.m. she said, when Temecula police officers ---- four or five, she's not sure ----- carrying rifles charged though the unlocked front screen door and ordered the couple to the floor. "Two of them came over and put handcuffs on the two of us," Lillian Scott said. "We asked what we had done wrong and didn't get an answer." Elsewhere in the house other officers handcuffed their daughter and her two friends. "(The officers) told them to get down on the f---ing floor," she said. Her 16-year-old son, who was feeding the baby, was also ordered to the floor and handcuffed, Scott said. From the other room, Scott heard her infant crying. "I asked if my baby was OK and the officer told me if I moved he was going to put a bullet in my head," Scott said. She later learned one of the officers had picked the baby up off the couch and had tried to quiet the infant, Scott said. That sent her mind racing, Scott said. She was unsure if the house raid was somehow connected to the murder of her daughter, Heather Steimer, then 18, who disappeared in July 2003. Steimer's body was found several weeks later buried in a shallow grave in Escondido. An Escondido man was convicted of murder in that case in 2005. "That made what was going on even more difficult," Scott said. Officers continued to search the house. "They went upstairs and kicked in the doors of my bedroom and my daughter's," Scott said. Scott later found the hinges off her bedroom door and a hole in the door leading to the daughter's room. "Then I heard one of the officers on the radio say the second floor was clear," Scott said. "Another officer on the radio then said they were supposed to be at a one-story house." The raid, Scott said, was supposed to be at a nearby one-story house. "(The officers) apologized and left," she said. Scott sent an e-mail to Temecula Mayor Chuck Washington telling him what happened. "He's been wonderful," she said. "And the police chief came to our house and apologized." Washington went to Scott's workplace, a local bank, this week to offer a personal apology, she said. Contacted by phone on Friday, Washington referred questions about the incident to Williams. "I really appreciate what the mayor and the chief of police have done," she said. "They told us the people involved would be reprimanded." Scott added she has been contacted by Riverside County human resources officials about a settlement of the incident in lieu of a possible lawsuit. Scott said they had yet to make a decision on how the family would proceed. When asked about the raid at the wrong house, Williams called the family "very nice and very cooperative. "We've tried to mend the fences," he added. Regarding the investigation into the Street Enforcement Team, Williams said he wants to get to the bottom of things, one way or another. "I want to get to the facts or get them exonerated, I think we owe it to (the officers)," the chief said.