Paso Robles police department accused of retaliation

January 25, 2013
Lisa Solomon

Lisa Solomon

By KAREN VELIE

A Paso Robles Police officer who filed a lawsuit against the city claiming the former chief initiated an illegal ticket quota scheme and punished officers who didn’t make their quotas filed a second retaliation claim against the city last week.

In the claim, Officer Jon Tatro says city administrators and interim Chief Robert Burton retaliated against him by making working conditions intolerable. Because of the alleged retaliation, Tatro resigned from the department in December.

“It is very hard to end my 26 years of service to the City of Paso Robles this way,” Tatro said. “I very much look forward to my day in court and I will let the outcome speak to the validity of my actions as compared to that of the administration.

“It has been my privilege to serve alongside so many great city employees. It has also been my honor to serve the great people of Paso Robles. I have made a lot of great friends within the community throughout my career and for that I will always be grateful.”

City manager Jim App responded to Tatro’s claim of retaliation by sending an email to City Attorney Iris Yang and Burton that said one word, “Predictable.”

For several years, Tatro had complained to city officials that command staff had mandated that each officer write at least 10 tickets a month, and preferably 14 or more, in order to avoid disciplinary action. Ticket quotas are illegal under state law, because they can pressure police to write bogus tickets to meet the goal.

Tatro’s original suit was the first in three actions filed in 2012 by present and former police officers against the city and scandal-plagued Chief Lisa Solomon-Chitty, who left her post March 20 packing a $250,000 payout from taxpayers.

In a suit filed in May, Brennan Lux accuses his former boss, Solomon-Chitty, of repeatedly making sexual advances toward him, and terminating him when she was rebuffed. The suit accuses city staff and officials of creating a hostile work environment and ignoring allegations of retaliation.

In July, former Paso Robles Police Department veteran David Hernandez filed a suit against the city alleging he was retaliated against by Solomon-Chitty for his union activities.

Claims lodged against the city which have been routinely dismissed by city officials, are precursors to filing of a lawsuit.

 


38 Comments

  1. 805code4 says:

    What a shame Mr. Tatro left the Dept. So many GOOD cops used to work there and as soon as Cassidy retired, his Lieutenant took over and sent the good guys packing…I sure hope she didn’t work her way up to Chief with her brand of charm. David Hernandez was a good cop too… a little closed minded at times but good and honest none-the-less. It’s sad and depressing to lose such valuable assets to the evil that exists in our hometown and it has no place in this profession. I know that nobody is perfect, and we all make mistakes but this Lady obviously lacks a sense of responsibility and consequence if shes making these choices so late in life.

    Thank you Jon Tatro and David Hernandez for holding that standard high. Good luck and God bless!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  2. Willow says:

    Kudos to Jon Tatro for standing up against bogus “police” actions – like ticket quotas.

    Why is it so important to that they write tickets at all?

    Does currency generation ring a bell with anyone?

    This isn’t about “public safety” at all. It’s about those on the government dole making sure they have plenty of loot in the coffers for their ridiculous over-the-top retirement packages – especially those at the top, like “chief” and “captain”, who’s retirement payouts are just outlandish and beyond morality (basically, it’s the self-serving with elitist mentalities who somehow think everyone else “owes” them a really good lifestyle – all the way until they day they die. Meanwhile, the peons they’re supposed to “serve” can, as the Queen of England put it: “eat cake” – and in case anyone doesn’t know what that means, she was referring to the “cake” of soot that comes out of chimneys – yeah, that’s what the self-serving “public servants” think of those who are FORCED to pay for their wonderful bank account balances).

    Self-serving corruption in law enforcement is a big problem in this country and should never have been tolerated to begin with. Now we have a whole generation of selfish pigs inflicting their selfishness on others ’cause they can, ’cause they’re “the law”.

    What they, and this society, have forgotten, is that there are higher laws, that’s above all the laws of any men, that they are breaking. I can’t wait for Justice to Prevail, and all the self-serving wanna-be’s get a dose of the reality of just exactly who they are, and where on the totem pole they really stand.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 2

    • south says:

      Easy, easy Willow. While I agree with your sentiment, methinks that your passion overfloweth. And BTW, it was Marie Antoinette, not the Queen of England.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  3. The Gimlet Eye says:

    Speaking of retaliation. Hasn’t SLO PD and Santa Maria done something like this several times?

    Grandmother sues city, police department over June flash grenade incident | PDF

    Police were looking for person who posted threats on Internet

    EVANSVILLE — A 68-year-old Evansville woman, who was at home with her granddaughter last June when police in SWAT gear tossed in flash grenades into her home and forced their way inside to serve a warrant, has filed a lawsuit against the city and the Evansville Police Department.

    Police came up empty-handed in a search for evidence about threatening Internet posts but only after damaging the house, handcuffing the woman and her granddaughter and seizing their computers, according to the lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court at Evansville.

    The lawsuit charges that police violated Louise Milan’s constitutional right against unreasonable search and seizure, that police were negligent and that the incident caused Milan emotional distress.

    http://www.courierpress.com/news/2013/jan/28/no-headline—lawsuit/

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

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