Sheriff candidate allegedly cheated on test

July 13, 2009
Ian Parkinson, candidate for SLO County sheriff

Ian Parkinson, candidate for SLO County sheriff


Former police officers have charged that sheriff candidate Ian Parkinson’s brother provided him the answers to sergeant promotion essay questions in 2001.

Police officers, vying for one open sergeant position, answered three essay questions designed to test their writing and leadership abilities. For applicants, the essay questions, a multiple choice written exam, and an oral test offered not only a chance at a promotion, but also a pay raise.

According to San Luis Obispo Police Department Captain Ian Parkinson’s essay answers, moral integrity is a primary quality of leadership: “I must set an example in this area. Not only to maintain the officers’ respect, but also as an example for officers to follow.”

On March 15, 2001, local attorney Eric Parkinson e-mailed the answers to three questions from his computer to Ian Parkinson’s city e-mail account.

“Let me know if you can’t open it (the attachment) and we can arrange a time that you can drop by to grab the disk,” Eric Parkinson says in the e-mail. “Your bribe was more than sufficient – thanks. I love you.”

Ian Parkinson justified his brother’s assistance stating the questions were part of the application and not part of the test, and as such, the author is unimportant.

However, court documents say, the essay questions were used to evaluate writing skills, listening skills, and leadership abilities. The answers were then employed by the oral panel and the staff as a tool in making their evaluations. The chief also utilized the answers in making the final promotion selection.

Subsequently, in his defense, Ian Parkinson said he produced the answers and then sent them to his brother for a grammatical check. He refused to provide the e-mails he said would support his claim.

Nevertheless, the author of the essay questions, according to Microsoft’s word program, is Eric J. Parkinson.

Department employees discovered the essay answers on a city computer, copied the e-mail, and provided a reproduction of the e-mail as well as the essay questions to the San Luis Obispo Police Officer Association (POA).

Officers with the POA asked Ian Parkinson to explain the e-mail.

“He acknowledged he had poor writing skills, but said that they were his thoughts,” said former POA Board Member Mike Brennler. “He said his brother was helping him prepare his thoughts in a written form.”

When asked about the alleged discussion, Parkinson said Brennler’s recollection was a “total lie.” He also noted that whoever copied the e-mail had invaded his privacy.

Shortly before the POA became aware of the e-mail, union officials filed an objection to the 2001 sergeant tests based on former chief James Gardiner’s addition of two essay questions that allegedly focused on “political prerogatives and freedom of association.” Superior Court Judge Jeffrey Burke ruled in favor of the association and ordered the department to dispose of the disputed questions and to restart the process.

Gardiner’s deposition supplies readers with a rare peek at the contentious atmosphere that existed between the chief and officers of the POA. Battles over a variety of issues included yelling, foul language, and use of Gardiner’s middle finger, according to the deposition.

Attorneys for the POA asked Gardiner to explain why he passed over POA board members selecting officers with lower evaluations for promotions. His answers included allegations that some board members were not team players.

Nevertheless, regardless of an applicant’s testing scores, the chief makes the final promotion selection.

Opponents of the process, contend that Ian Parkinson’s ultimate promotion to sergeant was based on his essay answer that holds the POA accountable for unrest between the chief and the POA.

Describing the relationship between the POA and the department management as “stable” though “occasionally volatile,” Parkinson blamed the most frequent cause of the disruptions on the collective bargaining previously enacted by the union, according to Parkinson’s 2001 sergeant application essay.

Following his promotion to Sergeant, Ian Parkinson moved quickly through the ranks climbing to the department’s second-in-command captain’s position. In March, Ian Parkinson announced his plans to make a run for the county’s top law enforcement position; San Luis Obispo County Sheriff Coroner. Last month, Ian Parkinson took on the added duties of the department’s public information officer.

Ian Parkinson’s answers:

Question 1 – What is your assessment of the relationship of the department management and the SLO Police Office Association?

“Overall, I would describe the relationship between management and the Association as “stable.” However, there have been occasions that the relationship has become volatile, which have, in turn, sometimes had a detrimental effect on the smooth operation of the department. In my estimation (and this is no secret), the most frequently cause of disruptions stems from the collective bargaining impasses experienced in the past.

“However, I believe that leadership in the department will continue to manage affairs in a manner that best suits the interest of the department as a whole. Unfortunately, for some members of the Association at least, there seems to be little empathy for the precarious position management is in and the balance of competing interests that they are attempting to achieve. As in a department, there are a few individuals in the Association that are on a “personal crusade,” so to speak, to disrupt because of what they may have perceived to be “injustices” perpetrated by management. I am not one of those individuals. I am sensitive to the difficult position management is in, and I choose to focus more on the “forest” than on the “trees” when assessing management’s decisions.”

Question 2 – What should be done to improve this relationship?

“I believe that promoting me to sergeant will be a very helpful first step to solving the problems between management and the Association. It will be difficult to put an end to the individual personal vendettas of some, but I believe that I can have a measurable effect in stopping much of it. I have established credibility and respect among line personnel, even though I have had public disagreements with some of their ideas and methods, and I have my “hand” on the “pulse” of the line personnel in the department. I believe it is important for me to maintain this credibility and respect for the benefit of the entire department. I believe that you would gain a new and higher credibility with me as your new sergeant.

“It is essential that I maintain open lines of communication with line personnel, fellow sergeants, lieutenants, captains and the chief of police. I must quickly address issues as they arise by paying close attention to the operations of the department and the effect of those operations on both past and future areas of concern. By doing this I believe I can prevent many problems before they occur, or at least before they fester and grow into a bigger problem or issue that then require resolution only by the chief.”

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Member Opinions:

By: Jill on 8/23/09

This is such a mud-slinging blog. Do you all ever write anything good that people do? I feel like I need a bath after reading this stuff. It’s not worth anyone’s time –


By: Use_it_or_Lose_it on 7/27/09

Skip his bad blood as a cop. Given that we know what Lenthall was like as a supervisor, selling his votes, over-riding common sense, over-riding the needs and benefits to the community to the benefit of singular monied interests, it is beyond reason that anyone is even considering him for sheriff. You’re all kidding, right?


By: OtisCampbell on 7/26/09

It would be a disappointment to be limited to the options of the ‘Prince’ and the ‘Giant’. Having worked with both I can say, without reservation, that they are NOT the best candidates for the job of county sheriff. Unless you enjoy prima-donnas.

By: Saveslocounty on 7/26/09

Roscoe: I actually did think the race was solely between Lenthall and Parkinson and that the rest of the field are kidding themselves. After listening to Parkinson and reading all of the posted material (other than blogs) there have been some serious ethical issues that scare me away from him. While some mudslinger tossed it out, it appears to have stuck. It will be interesting what is tossed against Lenthall next. While I remain an interested follower of the race, the sour grapes and mudslinging is distasteful. I do appreciate some honest to gosh investigative reporting and actual documents provided by CCN. I stand by my prediction, at least at this point. Regardless of the sourse, the candidates will remain responsible for their own actions and that will earn my vote. I would love to see a professionally run candidates forum to help with the process.

By: RoscoeRules on 7/25/09

Wow, with that ranking of candidates, you show yourself to be completely out of touch with reality. “Damning” information? Yeah, not so much. Just a smear campaign by a disgruntled ex-coworker is the way I see it after reading, and listening in on 920am talks. Cortez, CHP guy, Adams, and clown boy have no business being in this race. Lenthall is the only close 2nd choice behind Parkinson, and it may not even be that close. We’ll have to wait and see what the next round of mud slinging entails. Something tells me CCN will be there to break that “newsflash” too.

By: Saveslocounty on 7/24/09

OK. let’s take score and rate the candidtes for Sheriff so far. Regardless of your position, this was damning information to the Parkinson camp. Perhaps CCN could do a pole to see how everyone esle sees the race so far. My opionion at this point is:

1. Lentahll

2. Cortez

3. CHP Guy

4. Mark Adams

5. Clown Boy

6. Parkinson

By: BeenThereDoneThat on 7/21/09

On Clinton, it depends on what the definition of is, is. ;-)

By: BeenThereDoneThat on 7/21/09

With as much as the left hates religion, that wouldn’t have helped him.

By: George on 7/21/09

does anyone know what the qualifications are for a U.S. Supreme Court Justice:

Catholicism, apparently,Clarence Thomas converted.


BTDT: It still doesn’t mean that we have to take the dregs, just because no one is perfect. We are not looking for the PERFECT person, just one who will own up to their own mistakes and not try to continue to spin a web. Eventually, you do get found out in a lie. To me, it shows more character to own up to the “situation”, rather than continue to deny it. Just like Clinton’s “I did not have sex with that woman” speech. God, just man up. Being fallible is understandable. Being underhanded and sneaky is NOT.

By: BeenThereDoneThat on 7/21/09

Thanks Dog. You made my point. You said some seem o.k. some not. You didn’t say great. You said o.k. So is that to mean they could be better?

It is not a perfect system (electing people, or placing people in possitions of authority). Why? Because as I said before these are people. They are fallible. Someone please find me the perfect candidate. You can’t.

By: hotdog on 7/21/09

The public scrutiny the supremes undergo from all sides of the spectrum make it a whole different deal. Though how Thomas got there defies even the strange politics involved in all the choices made in that arena. Some of them seem OK, some seem not very OK, but Thomas is outside of all sensibilities.

By: BeenThereDoneThat on 7/21/09

With everybody hung up on the qualifications arguement (i.e. degree, best of the best etc.) does anyone know what the qualifications are for a U.S. Supreme Court Justice?

Mind you that it is even a bigger job than this!!

Oh and please don’t whine that I am in Parkisons pocket. Just debating here.

By: bc15a on 7/21/09

I agree on the fake names comment. It seems that Ian is on here as five different people trying to deflect the criticism. Funny how we never see any substance to his defense (no matter which personality is making it), just “he’s a nice guy, leave him alone.”

By: RoscoeRules on 7/20/09

all these fake names by the same posters are classic.

By: bc15a on 7/20/09

I suspect one reason he’s running for sheriff is that he does not meet the minimum qualifications to be a Police Chief. Pretty sad: if you aren’t qualified to be a chief, just run for sheriff!

By: BeenThereDoneThat on 7/20/09


Thanks for the laugh. You think you have great knowledge and you know me?? Not. I for one am leaning towards Lenthall.

You totally have missed my point. Like other postings I have had on other stories, just trying to look at possible innocence, since I have seen charges only by one person, Mike B.

That isn’t to say that it couldn’t play out with time that accusations are true. I like to keep an open mind, rather than to rush to judgement. Let me get ALL the facts first.

By: Cindy on 7/20/09

bc15a… So true.

By: bc15a on 7/20/09

This topic is tied very closely to the article below it on the SLO County $100,000 Pension Club. Bart Topham is listed on there and he was the last SLO City PD Captain; Parkinson is in his old position now.

If our public servants are going to live the high life on our dime, with nicer houses, nicer cars, boats, etc., while the taxpayers who pay them just barely scrape by, at least we should be sure the most qualified and deserving get these perks. Instead, we get those who are incompetent at everything but kissing up to the highest bureaucrats, then they reap the rewards. This is exactly what the Civil Service laws were designed to protect against, but all the loopholes have been found and exploited to great effect and profit.

I can only hope at least one of our elected City leaders has the guts to really investigate this and hold people accountable for their actions.

I guess we’re all the suckers. We should have dropped out of high school, gone to the Police Academy, gotten ourselves a nice manicure, expensive haircut, and a good tailor, then we could be enjoying our Porsches, ski boats, and big houses while looking forward to our 100K plus retirement.

Why do I feel that I’ve fallen down the rabbit hole?

By: Saveslocounty on 7/19/09

Sorry, the integrity issue is far from over and should not be dismissed as business as usual. It seems like a total conflict of interest for a sitting Chief of Police to jump into a political battle and take sides. That is a clue that she is exposed to some wrong doing, likly in the promotion of Parkinson. The City Counsil will likely be interested in that. SLO City Government has not suffered through the scrutiny of such inquires and scandal, as has County Government.

The minimum job specs for Captain are posted on line. If linden used her position with POST to issue the necessary documents, she is likely to have committed a crime. She may not be the sharpest tack in the drawer but she can’t be that stupid.

The problem with a coverup like Parkinson’s brother doing his work is that it must be covered up with a lie. And then a lie to cover up the next lie and so on. At some point, the truth comes out and peoples careers are ruined, by their own actions, not by those who brought it to light. I think Brennlers motives were most certainly a political move for his pal, but Parkinson should be accountable for his own actions regarless of the efforts of his opponents. This is already a dirty race but at least we will have some data to base our opinion on who the next Sheriff will be. FYI, this work was not written or edited by any family member and I will freely take a polygraph to prove it.

By: Nancy on 7/18/09

Sure Folks,

Lets just all “suck it up”. This mediocrity and back scratching has gone on for so long, why do something about it now? Heck this ain’t even the tip of the ice burg.

By: suckitup on 7/18/09

Is everyone done yet? BLAH…BLAH…BLAH! Whatever! Come on! It is what it is people! Move on!

How long are you going to blast Ian…Mike…and what does it all measure out?

Ian is a good man! Mike retired a loyal Police Officer!

How long can this go on?

Shall we all move on and look into the future and set our sights on hoping for the best outcome? I think that the people of SLO can muddle through the BS and the drama!

I know we all love the cheap entertainment and the drama! But…come on! I think we are all intelligent adults here!

Quite frankly…I’m tired of all of this drama…are you?

By: Michelle on 7/17/09

Deb Linden is the chair at the POST board. She can probably create some certificates for her golden boy if need be. She can also get caught doing it.

By: Laura on 7/17/09

I heard Police Chief Deb call into the Congalton Show. She sounded nervous as hell. I had the impression that she anxious about something. Its time that someone holds her feet to the fire. Cough up Parkinsons credentials (ie: his POST certificates) or demote him. I’m personally going to complain to the Slo BoS about this until she proves that she plays fair. I think she’s a liar just like I think Parkinson is. I believe Mike Brennler.

By: Jordan on 7/17/09

Unfortunately Congalton hasn’t put up the podcast from last nights show. The spin that Parkinson and his cronies threw on this was interesting. They refuse to address the real issue. They have continuously insisted that all Ian Parkinson did was have his test edited. The issue is that he just plain never even wrote it and then lied about it. No one should be surprised that Parkinson is running from a polygraph examination. I have 100% faith in Mr. Brennler’s statements, considering that he is willing to prove his integrity with the offer of a polygraph I think everyone else has 100% faith as well.

Congratulations Mr. Brennler, you’ve exposed another one.

By: bc15a on 7/17/09

Several questions come to mind:

What has Parkinson actually accomplished as a Captain? Has he shown any leadership ability at all or is he just an empty suit. Does he love his position more than his job and will this carry over to Sheriff?

It would be interesting to look back over the job requirements for Captain from before he applied and determine if:

a) is he qualified to hold his present job?

b) did Gardiner modify (lessen) the requirements to accommodate Parkinson?

Seems to be we shouldn’t want to find the minimum in a candidate for Sheriff, we should try to find the best candidate we can. So far I’m seeing a guy who has gotten where he is by kissing butt and looking good.

By: Cindy on 7/17/09

Way to go Ian.. Stay away from that Polygraph.

By: mcdonald on 7/17/09

The word is out that Captian Ian Parkinson has refused to take a polygraph examination. He is banking on a few of his friends to back up his integrity and for his brother to keep his mouth shut. Mike Brennler say’s Eric Parkinson wrote the essays that Ian submitted. Brennler is willing to take a polygraph against Parkinson. Who’s the real coward and liar?

It would also appear that Linden allowed Parkinson to sneak past the required qualifications to achieve his rank. This means that the county is now liable to law suits because others who were qualified were denied those positions.

By: surfdawg on 7/17/09

How do we know that you didnt have help preparing this document :) Sorry…couldn’t help myself.

By: MikeB on 7/17/09

As promised, here is the text from my exit interview reference my assertion that Ian Parkinson had acted unethically during the promotion process.

Please note that I am copying the text from my original file thus I am not certain how it will interface with the website format. The original letter was prepared in typical 8.5 x 11 form.

For those not familiar with the term “exit interview” it is the interview between the department head and the employee who is leaving the agency.

On July 16, 09 during the Dave Congalton Radio Show (920am KVEC)San Luis Obispo Police Chief Linden called in to support Captain Parkinson. She claimed that she knew nothing of the allegations of cheating until “two days ago”

Below is my exit interview, which the Chief and I discussed upon my retirement. Chief Linden and I discussed the issues I raised, including the assertion that Ian Parkinson

had acted unethically during the promotion process by having his brother prepare his written response to essay questions.


November 14,2003


A. Initial Orientation to the Police Department

I was hired by the San Luis Obispo Police

Department in 1981 after having served as a Peace Officer in Los Angeles County. My initial orientation to the Police Department was a bit confusing and awkward as an administrator had instructed me to work an undercover assignment but failed to inform line supervisors.

My coworkers were supportive and fun to work with and most of them were receptive to new ideas and techniques. This wasn’t necessarily the case with several managers who appeared intimidated and distrustful of new employees who had worked in larger metropolitan agencies. I simply chalked this up to human nature and went about my business. I came to understand that many in the community of San Luis Obispo have philosophical differences with our metropolitan neighbors to the south and north and these differences are often projected into city government. From my perspective these differences are sometimes warranted but often they are not. At the end of my first year I had pondered returning to my former agency but I decided to stick it out, as San Luis Obispo County is a nice place to live.

For the most part duties, responsibilities, working conditions, procedures, job safety, performance requirements, salary and benefits were adequately explained although I found the field training manual woefully inadequate. Many years later in my capacity as an FTO I had the opportunity to overhaul the field training manual with instructions that it be periodically reviewed and updated to assure continuity in the training program.

B. Training

When I began working here the training program was inconsistent but over the years it has improved. Training was stressed as career development but many times I observed some managers abuse the process by rewarding certain employees with premium training classes. Conversely, they would punish others. This behavior was patently inappropriate and contributed to moral problems.

I was that surprised that there were many Sergeants who were reluctant to assume briefing training. They would read the activity log but the responsibility of training was usually left to the FTOs. Having come from an agency where Sergeants actively conducted briefing training I knew that this affected the employee’s perception concerning their Sergeant’s

competency and team spirit. I believe that training is improved when line level supervisors assume or actively contribute to training rather than shirk this important responsibility and assume it is a task left to subordinates.

C. Supervision

My experience replicates the experience of many employees at SLOPD. It was one of

great frustration particularly during the administration of Jim Gardiner. Often I would see line level employees who would champion a good idea or procedure. Line supervisors may have also embraced the idea or concept but from that point it seemed to get lost in chain of command or perhaps better termed, the “chain of communication.” Even feedback on proposals was hard to obtain. When line supervisors were asked the status of proposals they would simply shrug and indicate that they had done their part but had not heard anything back. I believe that these supervisors were also frustrated but didn’t dare say anything negative about this dilemma for fear of damaging their careers. There were some managers who had the “our way or the highway” mentality and this only hurt morale and thwarted bright young people from participating and promoting sound ideas. For many, they simply gave up.

Many line level employees have been dismayed to see certain people promoted into

positions of leadership when so many at the line level have direct knowledge concerning

repeated acts of incompetence, unethical behavior and in some cases behavior which can be interpreted as criminal. Nothing erodes morale faster than this phenomenon, particularly in a law enforcement organization where employees were indoctrinated to believe that those in law enforcement are to be honest, compassionate and just.

Also deemed destructive was the perception that there were two levels of accountability, one for staff and one for line, as well as the perception of favoritism and underhanded behavior during promotional examinations and selections for special assignments. These perceptions were strengthened as a result of revelations that occurred during litigation against Jim Gardiner and they speak volumes toward issues of impropriety.

The process of removing line supervisors from the POA and subsequent discriminatory

behavior against leaders of the POA did nothing to heal the rift between management and line and fueled feelings of distrust. Some recent events under the new administration have caused line level employees to perceive that certain improprieties continue and that certain

behaviors will simply be tolerated as usual, almost as if Gardiner’s failings are indelibly inked on our organization.

D. Generalities

I loved police work and I enjoyed being a public servant. I think the public comments in my personnel jacket speak to this issue. I didn’t necessarily relish the internal conflicts and politics that often accompanied my job.

My relationship with the law enforcement community was sound evidenced by my

commendations and awards. I will always cherish the working relationship I had with

other police agencies, judges, prosecuting and defense attorneys who recognized my

commitment and approach to law enforcement. To me it was all about issues of hard work, integrity and fair play.

My interaction with city management and support services seemed to go well although

they were understandably strained during the POA’s litigation against the promotional


I strongly believe that the community supports both police and fire evidenced by their support during the drive for binding arbitration. I don’t believe the same support existed from people like John Dunn and several city councilmen. This lack of support or the perception was responsible for the upheaval that culminated in ballot measure S. As an association representative I hated to have to battle for benefits that seemed so reasonable but I am proud that my fellow board members and I fulfilled our responsibility to the rank and file. We promised to be diligent and we promised to be professional and we were.

In reference to imposed discipline I found it very improper for Jim Gardiner and Cliff

Chelquist to have placed me on a performance improvement plan (PIP) for an alleged deficiency in traffic enforcement. Statistics show that I was an extremely productive officer who had a high number of traffic stops, misdemeanor and felony arrests and sound investigations. In my opinion and the opinion of many others the PIP was simply a punitive measure aimed at my association activity.

I have noticed that the SLOPD has reached the design life for our building. It is time to think about a new structure instead of trying to do things piece meal.

Our fine dispatchers toil in an environment which I believe is archaic. City leaders

although quick to praise our dispatchers have done little to improve their working

conditions. I believe the dispatchers quarters are cramped and dismal. This environment needs desperate change.

I also believe that records division needs expansion. There are to few records employees to handle a staggering amount of work yet they continue to produce good products and to treat the public courteously. I know these employees have bright, enthusiastic ideas but these ideas need to be conveyed and thoughtfully examined, if we believe in striving to

provide better service to the public.

Projects like CAD, Spillman, Unit Videos and MDT are often in disarray or disrepair.

Sometimes these projects are implemented without sufficient training thus causing a less than optimal transition. In the case of Spillman I think we opted for a less costly product, however in the long run it was not in our best interest. Recently I tried to run a record check through the updated Spillman (Summit) only to discover that blocks of important historical data were missing and apparently they can’t be retrieved. I can only imagine the negative impact this has on investigations.

E. Concluding Comments

In reading this critical analysis of the SLOPD one may derive that the author is somewhat disenchanted. Actually I am very proud of my accomplishments during my 32 years in the profession and as mentioned before I think the public comments in my personnel jacket speak to that issue.

In preparing this critique I was faced with a dilemma. Do I choose the path of least

resistance or do I do what I know to be courageous and ethical. In deciding the issue I remembered the words of my father when he was asked for feedback. He would simply retort, ” Do you want me to tell you what you’d like to hear or would you rather me tell you what you need to hear?” So this, although the more difficult of the two choices, was the obvious path for me.

I hope that my comments are cause for serious reflection and that the readers do not simply dismiss them for it is said that organizations that do not heed the mistakes of the past are likely to repeat them.

Michael Brennler

Cc: City of San Luis Obispo, Human Resources

San Luis Obispo Police Officers’ Association

By: StevenBoothe on 7/16/09

Great listening to Ian Parkinson on Dave Congalton’s radio show tonight. For all you who missed it, the program will be available via KVEC podcast here:

Good times.

Steven Boothe

Way to go Ian.

By: surfdawg on 7/16/09

Ok…..issue is dead. This story was another unsubstantiated non-story…time to move on and deal with the real issues.

By: Lewy on 7/16/09

Candidate Parkinson is to be commended for remaining true to himself in regard to his rather limited formal education. While some would have succumbed to the lure of buying a flashy on-line degree, Parkinson recognized his own capabilities and limitations – and hung his GED on the wall.


BTDT: You have really spun donuts on this blog!! My oh my you are trying so desperately to keep yourself from looking like you have no bias, it’s making me dizzy.

And BlackCopter Pilot – I’m pretty sure that Mike cares what the naysayers are spouting. He is tenacious, if nothing else. And I am in agreement with the statement “Where is brother Eric” in all this!

By: MartinW on 7/16/09

That’s it, you recent posters are part of the problem. Do we really have to dredge at the bottom of the well for honest servants? I say

not. I have never been so outraged as I’m at this moment. No more cover ups boys. Stand up and be held accountable. Take the test and man up or be nothing that I can respect.

By: Black_Copter_Pilot on 7/16/09

From this vantage point, the “who is lying” question is set aside. iit’s too bad that Brennler has a Prickly Pear” personality, bercause what this will boil down to is who can win the hearts and minds of the voters.

Brennler, as always, fails to do that.

By: BeenThereDoneThat on 7/16/09

I’ve got an idea. Have all the candidates take a poly. and ask if they have ever cheated in there life on anything. I bet they all fail.

By: BeenThereDoneThat on 7/16/09

If he stole money I have a problem. If he shot an innocent man, framed somebody, bore false witness against someone.

He lied on a job app. If people want this to be the litness test, for something this low on the totum pole, then we might as well start getting ready to have a lot of people fail. That is my point.

Does anybody think that most cops are this perfect?? Comon what kind of fools paradise are people living in.

Should they be? Of course. Are they? I doubt it.

By: Michelle on 7/16/09

Hey BeenThereDoneThat..

Certainly we are all less than perfect, this isn’t heaven and we don’t have to be perfect. Then there are out right liars that bear false witness against our neighbors and even go so far as to “create” false documents. Get my point? The QUESTION is did Captain Parkinson lie and create false evidence to support his stand or didn’t he? Take the test Parkinson, its no less than you would request of any other suspected citizen

By: BeenThereDoneThat on 7/16/09

Heck I thought I was perfect!! Then my wife set me straight. ;-)

By: BeenThereDoneThat on 7/16/09

Sorry for the everybody. Ment some.

By: BeenThereDoneThat on 7/16/09

My point was, is that everybody here seems to want the perfect human being. Sounds great to me. Unfortunatly he/she doesn’t exist except on T.V. Land.

By: Michelle on 7/16/09

Hey BeenThereDoneThat…

How about a polygraph will do?

By: BeenThereDoneThat on 7/16/09

I’ll say it again. I think there is still time to call Mayberry and see if Andy can come to SLO and be our Sheriff. If not then maybe Barney. That would give everybody the honest cops they want.

By: Laura on 7/16/09

Mike Brennler is definitely a force to be reckoned with. He has an excellent reputation for transparency. Many people have mud on their faces after they attacked him when he exposed Atascadero’s “man of the year”, Kelly Gearhart. It all turned out to be far worse than we knew and now everyone in Gearharts court has run for cover. I really think Parkinson needs to take Mike up on this challenge to a lie detector. Its actually possible that they are both telling the truth! Maybe Ian lied to Mike when he said that he didn’t write the essay because Ian was embarrassed about it. If I wrote something like that for a job promotion I would be embarrassed to know that my fellow colleagues were privy to it. If this is true then Ian did actually write the draft, his brother only made corrections and Ian is only guilty of lying to Mike but not to the rest of us! It’s obvious that someone lied somewhere, but who, when and to whom?

By: Nancy on 7/16/09

If Captain Parkinson fails the lie detector test that will mean that he is also guilty of falsifying evidence. He gave a floppy disk to KSBY and said it was his original draft. I sure hope for his sake that he really did write his essays and that he only had his brother do some minor editing (like he say’s).

This is scary if we find out that he lied.

By: Cindy on 7/16/09

surfdawg, I understand your point. I’m not concerned about Ian asking Eric to edit his essays. I want to know if Ian outright lied when he said that he actually wrote the essay and that his brother only proofed it. I want to know who the liar is. Is it Brennler who say’s Ian originally admitted that Eric wrote it or is it Ian who is now calling Brennler a “liar”? Brennler has challenged Ian to a polygraph examination. Something Ian and his supporters all seem to avoid addressing. Someone is lying. Lets get to the truth and move on.

By: bluemule on 7/16/09

I wonder why Ian’s brother Eric hasn’t piped in here in his defense. Eric was sure quick and verbose in strongly disputing the allegations of misconduct in an earlier story regarding that purported orphanage in Sri Lanka, but nary a word this time around. Perhaps he loves his brother enough to be his ghost-writer, but not quite enough to lie for him.

Cindy hit the nail on the head – anyone with the scope of authority that a top-cop has needs to be squeaky clean and honest to the utmost, or there’s the potential for big trouble and the unlawful violation of citizens rights.

By: Newsome on 7/16/09

Agree 100% that we should expect honesty/integrity from our electeds, esp the top cop.

I do not see this Parkinson issue as a particularly significant transgression. I see it as a media event and an attempt at character assassination.

(For the record: I am not an anonymous Parkinson supporter. In fact, I am anonymously ardently rooting for Lenthall.)

By: surfdawg on 7/16/09

Cindy/Cynthia….you simply can’t believe what has been reported. Did you listen to Congalton yesterday? When pressed for a straight answer on the basic foundation of the story (was this an application or a test), the reporter of this article could not answer, but bounced around spouting random thoughts about court documents, that Parkinson is supposedly a good guy, blah blah blah. This never should have gone to print without all the facts vetted. This was a job application, and any reasonable person would want a second set of eyes to review it. The person who sat on this info failed the promotional process, and has apparently not moved on…Please step back and consider what I am saying.

By: Cindy on 7/16/09

Ian Parkinson originally admitted that he didn’t write the essays. Now he says that his brother only edit checked them. He has called Mike Brennler a liar and Brennler has challenged him to a polygraph examination. What do you want to bet that Ian refuses?

This is about honesty and integrity. There is nothing worse that a COP who lies. How many of you want to be on the receiving end of a “trumped up” police report?

By: RoscoeRules on 7/16/09

Ruh roh.

By: Truthbeknown on 7/15/09

surfdawg said: “Good news – few reasonable people waste the time on this stuff like I am doing, and if I was running for public office, I wouldnt want the support/vote of nut-jobs like Mike and the other non-believers….”

Well stated, surfdawg! Nothing worse than a nut job with a big chip on his shoulder.

By: marty on 7/15/09

i am afraid this is going to be a long campaign with a lot of trash being thrown about.

I don’t think this is much of a story compared to the wilcox story in the newspaper.

Karen when are you going to tell us about wilcox and her long term affair with this dsa executive director.

What’s his or her name? Tell us we want to know!

You seem so worried about the ethics of parkinson for asking his brother to proof read an essay, what about a union leader sleeping with the person they are conducting negotiations with for employee raises.

THAT sounds like real corruption.

By: Jill on 7/15/09

Karen, Mark, and Dale: Under which rock did you slither out of? Honestly, this is such obviously transparent political crap. Get a righteous life!

By: surfdawg on 7/15/09

Mike B…..asking me to be patient? Why didnt you do the right thing and be forthright originally? And, though I disagree with the assertion it was off of a common computer, I would ask what you were doing reading other people’s email? Rather, you read someone else’s email, you printed it, and you sat on it for all this time, as your logic would point out.

I still stand by my comments about your actions and associated poor character…you didnt answer the question. Did you compete for the Captain’s position and lose that promotion to Parkinson?

Why can’t the people who stir the pot on these issues ever wear white cowboy hats? They are always people with a chip on their shoulder out to damage others to compensate for their own shortcomings…sad…sad….sad.

Good news – few reasonable people waste the time on this stuff like I am doing, and if I was running for public office, I wouldnt want the support/vote of nut-jobs like Mike and the other non-believers….

By: BeenThereDoneThat on 7/15/09

Mike B.

You keep saying in posts, soon I will post this letter. I have seen it mentioned twice. So what is the holdup? You have accused this man, so are you going to present the evidence soon or is your brother-friend-relative, proof reading yours?

By: MikeB on 7/15/09

Be patient Surfdawg.

Soon I will post my 2003 letter which was prepared for my exit interview. It was provided to Human Resources, copied to the POA and also discussed in detail with Chief Linden in Jan 2004.

The discussion included the allegation of cheating and other unethical behaviors.

The documents suggestive of cheating were on a police department computer, specifically a public drive available to any police employee.

When an employee became aware of the impropriety he reported it to the POA who in turn passed it on to the attorney who was dealing with the promotional litigation.

Per police department rules and regulations, information or evidence suggesting cheating or falsification of documents is required to be reported.

Ian Parkinson knew that Chief Linden was aware of the cheating allegation so if he felt the documents were “stolen” why wouldn’t he have requested an investigation?

Think about it?

That’s it for now.

Mike Brennler

By: slovoter on 7/15/09

Karen: A few points to consider: James Gardiner was not the first choice of our esteemed city council for the position of SLOPD Chief of Police. The number 1 & 2 candidates turned the job down due to the low pay. The results speak for themselves. He caused more problems than he ever solved. He was not trustworthy. He only promoted officers he could control. The SLOPOA forced Gardiner to reveal his true flawed character. Parkinson was Gardiner’s hand picked protege. They were cut from the same cloth. Karen you need to look into Parkinson’s long term relationship with attorney James Murphy and the numerous times Parkinson perjured himself for financial benefit. How does an officer become a Captain without a college degree? Not even an AA degree? County voters deserve better candidates for Sheriff. Lack of integrity, lack of education and lack of professionalism are not the qualities of a viable sheriff candidate.

By: surfdawg on 7/15/09

I have a sick quality of reading the conspiracy theory / no facts required writings of CCN.

Let me see where to begin…

Question #1 – Who has not ever asked a trusted friend/colleague/family member to review their resume/application/writing samples to make sure they submit the best work they possibly can to get a job or promotion?

Answer #1 – Anybody with a brain and a desire to get that promotion/job would have trusted eyes review their work.

Question #2 – How did Mike Brennler get the email from Parkinson’s computer?

Answer #2 – Apparently, he STOLE it…enough said

Question #3 – Why did CCN tee up Eric Parkinson in an article that was so full of inaccuracies that Dave Congalton b-slapped the reporter?

Answer #4 – CCN is out to discredit Parkinson and will use his brother to do so.

Question #5 – Why doesnt CCN investigate how Brennler got this document in the first place?

Answer #5 – Because Brennler is a crazed conspiracy theorist and feeds right into this stuff. Didn’t he tie Saddam’s Weapons of Mass Destruction to the FEMA/Atascadero/San Simeon Earthquake event?

I could go on, but I might hurt somebody’s feelings…Did Brennler compete for the Captain’s position that Parkinson was hired for? That seems like a valid question, and hence a reason for Brennler to sit on this email until such a time as he can dirty-shirt his one-time colleague. I challenge CCN to check into this, knowing you probably won’t…you may be placed in a position of eating one of your own. :)

By: BeenThereDoneThat on 7/15/09

I thought these are human beings running for office. Are they not fallible?

I read the paper and you see congress people caught in sexual situtions. You see priests, clergy men, our Ex President.

Now before you say it doesn’t matter, it does. It is all a form of cheating.

My point is, with people of power it seems to get worse.

The old adage, “power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely”.

Not saying I like it. Give me the sqeaky clean candidate from Mayberry and I’ll vote for him. Problem is, is that he never existed. I have excepted that. That should not be confused for liking.

That also doesn’t mean I am not vigilant. Obviousily or I wouldn’t be here from reading about it in the first place.

Now lets look in the closets of all the candidates. If this is the worse situation(cheating on a job app.) then he probably wouldn’t get my vote. I bet though that there are candidates running for this with bigger skeletons in their closet and that is called being realistic.

By: Saveslocounty on 7/15/09

Society is doomed to self destruction when we accept that all candidates are cheaters and liers and this is the best you can ever hope for. There are six or seven candidates so far and we are looking at each with a microscope to pick the very best one as our Sheriff. We, the public should set that level of expectation and by and large, we don’t like dishonest cops. That is not an unreasonable request. In fact, settling for corruption as “business as usual” is why we have the current mess out there at the Sheriff’s Department. The candidate we elected is morally bankrupt and cost us millions in wasted tax dollars for his wrongdoings. I really don’t know who or where the information comes from but it still falls on the candidate to take responsibility for his own actions, not blame the whistleblowers. If the info came from the camp of another candidate, they will certainly have a closet full of skeletons that we will set in judgement and use to make our very best informed decision before voting on such an important office. Sorry,actually I am not sorry, and cheating is still not OK in my book, especially for the top lawman in the county.

By: Brady on 7/15/09

There is no “perfect candidate”. I go back to my previous comment “throw Stones”

The perfect candidate would have returned the private email and disk to it’s owner without reading it.

By: BeenThereDoneThat on 7/15/09

I like Roger’s last paragraph.

That is all we can hope for.

I don’t like dishonest candidates or people in office, anymore than anyone else but it astounds me that people are looking for this perfect utopia candidate.

Has anyone EVER found that perfect candidate, local, national or otherwise??

Again like Roger said you have to find the best of the crop and this crop is what, three people running?? Lots of choises. ;-)

By: rogerfreberg on 7/15/09

Someone cheated on an EXAM? How shocking! A top administrative officer may have advanced her career my canoodling her boss? Zowie!

Well, I am glad someone is asking these folks the tough questions, because it won’t come from the Tribune unless you are one of ‘theirs.’Jeff Fairbanks may be gone but his legacy remains.

So, what is my point?

No one will find any of this shocking. Recently high school seniors were asked a few tough questions and they answered as follows:

Over 30% said they had stolen something of ‘value’

Over 60% said they cheated on an exam

and over 90% said they are ‘good people’… go figure.

When I vote, I try to vote for the person who has cheated the less and does not make it a habit, lies the least and sometimes… sometimes wonders if they are doing right. Maybe that’s all we can expect from today’s crop of candidates.

Roger Freberg

By: Cindy on 7/15/09


“You said we don’t have the time for on the job training. He obviously already has it.”


You seem to misconstrue the words “intellectual capacity” (the key word being capacity) with studied/acquired, applicable knowledge. You certainly under estimate the administrative duties required to effectively function at the level of SLO County Sheriff. Something that the public has been consistently “short changed” on.

By: karen on 7/15/09

I have posted Parkinson’s answers at the bottom of this article.

I will be on the Dave Congalton Show at 5:30 p.m. to discuss this issue. Tune your radios to 920AM or listen live at

By: BeenThereDoneThat on 7/15/09


You said we don’t have the time for on the job training. He obviously already has it.

So it is a mute point.

I do like that you get my point on G.E.D.’s and four year educations. I like that you at least keep an open mind.

Oh and again I can’t make this to clear. I do not know this man from adam or anyone else. I know that I can’t prove other than my word but if a person looks at my posts, I comment on a lot of them and this is another to just get into some good conversation and exchange of ideas.

It also gets me thinking about which of our candidates I am going to vote for. Honestly I don’t know jack about any. I am just commenting on this as I want to make sure innocent people (which he still is no admited guilt) are givin a fair shake.

By: Cindy on 7/15/09


CCN broke those stories and answered those questions months ago. Apart from the fact that the BOS finally fired Wilcox, the rest is old news Chump.

By: marty on 7/15/09

“Hey Karen next time you talk to your “source” (Dale) or whatever his “code name” is, ask him about his “Executive Director” and the Assistant CAO. It would make much better tabloid reading than this current “big news”.

You know “Sex, COLA’s and the DSA”.

I just read my morning news paper and saw that Gail Wilcox was fired last night for having an inappropriate relationship with a county employee that created a conflict of interest.

Who IS the executive director of the dsa? was he or she the person who had the relationship?

Were any perks given to anybody because of the relationship?

Come on CCN inquiring minds want to know!

By: Cindy on 7/15/09

xlswede and Saveslocounty –

Excellent Posts, BRAVO.

By: Cindy on 7/15/09

BTDT – I too am speechless. Do you really believe that the standards should be lowered because people with higher educations take advantage of and break the rules just like blue collar workers do? Ian is obviously your friend and probably does an excellent job. Your correct about “on the job training”, I agree that there is no education like experience. At the same time there is nothing like “balance”. I’m talking about the skills to develop, balance and track large fiscal expenditures. I’m talking about the skills to address large audiences and compose press releases. These are just a few of the professional duties attached to the position of county Sheriff. I agree that there are many people with a GED that possess the same and even greater intellectual capacity as many who sport a 4 year college degree. The problem is that “we the people” don’t have the time, funds, or propensity to afford our Sheriff an education (“on the job training”) at our expense.

By: Saveslocounty on 7/15/09

Hey Gordo, I am certainly not Dale Strobridge. He is likely the only potential candidate worse than the group that have already declared candidacy. Higher education requirements for such an important well paying job seem like a legitimate qualification for the Sheriff. But, what is more important is the enthical path taken by the candidates to arrive at this juncture, having chosen to run for political office. The lack of ethics is where the Sheriff’s Department lost the support of the community. That is what should be our goal in order to restore the trust. Mr. Parkinson, sadly, did nothing to comfort us into earning our vote. We don’t want anymore underhanded politics in law enforcement.

By the way, the union didn’t get the test thrown out, a Superior Court Judge threw it out. The local judiciary is the one branch of government that has maintained a high ethical standard, for the most part. All I am looking for is to feel safe with my family by knowing that we have the highest calibre of leadership in the Sheriff’s Department. I am glad to have this forum to enjoy my freedom of speech and think we the people need to take an interest and become more active in selecting the best candidates to care for our safety and the tax money we send to them. Call it bashing or mud slinging or whatever you like. But this forum has provided some critical information to base an informed decision regarding our next Sheriff. Parkinson has let us down and has lost our confidence because of his actions, not those of the people who brought it to light; be it Brennler or Strobridge or the devil himself.

By: xlswede on 7/15/09

This is not a popularity contest within the department or the law enforcement community. For the “top cop” to implement change he must be able to work independently, unimpeded from previous associations, favors owed, promises made, etc. Backing of a particular candidate by employee associations is a good reason for a no vote. A candidate from outside the “brotherhood” would be the most effective at making the Sheriff’s department an agency we could be proud of. We have had 8 years of the “inmate running the prison”, time for an independent problem solver, concensus builder and true leader to head up our SLO County Sheriff’s Department.

By: starvingmexican on 7/14/09

“Let he who is without sin, cast the first stone”.

Senor,you must be talking about me.

By: BeenThereDoneThat on 7/14/09

This is amazing! People have sat on these blogs for months complaining about Edge, Wilcox, Ghezzi, etc. All have college degree’s! So what has that got you? You say you want change? Could G.E.D. or no degree be much worse than what we have seen? AMAZING! I am left speechless.

By: Truthbeknown on 7/14/09

hotdog on 7/14/09 said: “TBK, you said

“Yes, here is a photo of Brennler and his long-time buddy Dale Strobridge (page 9) chowing down at the donut shop:

“Are you nuts? What do you mean, yes? The photo is of a number of cops lined up for a photo op, big deal. You make it sound like some sort of conspiracy, a real coup for the whiners here. It means nothing except they were probably both active cops at the same time.”

Hotdog, you miss the point. Brennler has a long history going back at least to the 80’s with Strobridge , who has been mentioned as a candidate for SLO Sheriff. Not only did they serve together, they sat on numerous boards such as SLOPOA. It is my understanding that they are also business partners. Brennler’s accusations are meant to discredit the perceived front runner in the SO race.

I don’t even know Parkinson, so don’t have a dog in his fight. But I have a problem with Brennler spreading his holier than thou BS to discredit the competition to help his long time buddy Strobridge.

By: Afriendindeed on 7/14/09

Why, oh why, do we want a “top cop” who only has a GED? Also, how can Parkinson possibly be a captain in SLOPD without a college degree?

Boy, does this stink!

By: xxljohnson on 7/14/09

Is it me or does poor Mike Brennler look like everyone’s crazy uncle?

Anyway, can we move on to more current events. Everyone can see this will be a Parkinson bashing web site. Why don’t we wait till the spring to really start throwing the mud.

Like I said “current events”:

Hey Karen next time you talk to your “source” (Dale) or whatever his “code name” is, ask him about his “Executive Director” and the Assistant CAO. It would make much better tabloid reading than this current “big news”.

You know “Sex, COLA’s and the DSA”.

O’ I want credit for the byline…….

By: BeenThereDoneThat on 7/14/09


How about Ted Bundy for the position? He graduated from a University and was well liked by his professors. Obsurd? Of course.

Give me on the job training of an individual any day.

Sure you can get your degree in this and degree in that but from the bottom up training beats this any day. You get to know the in’s and out’s of it better than some book will ever give you. The other (degree) just gets you another pencil pushing bureaucrat.

Yea like we need more of those.

By: Cindy on 7/14/09

Hold on there Gordo,

“the police union, then under the control of Mr. Strobridge and Mr. Brennler got the whole application process thrown out.”

“Mr. Parkinson had to reapply, along with everybody else.”

The point is that Eric had already passed the “kissing contest” for Ian.

As for the e-mails, they were sent to a government owned computer and are the property of the government. We the people

are the government.

x2@Sharibaby – Well said.

By: sharibaby on 7/14/09


The GED is the bare minimum standard. Right above breathing, operating a light switch and carrying a gun. I would hope for more in such a high level position.

A person who controls a huge budget, handles a large staff, deals with government red tape, deals with the public, has to handle sensitive cases, work with Federal, State and local agencies may not have to quote Neitche (or even know who that is) but they should be able to understand spreadsheets, human relations, leadership, conflict resolution, motivation, diplomacy and inspire others to do their best. They should certainly have strong verbal and writing skills.

I have great respect for blue collar jobs…this is not one of them.

By: Gordo on 7/14/09

TO: Savesslocounty:

Right on Dale!, Right on!

By: Gordo on 7/14/09

Well, I just watched Mr. Brennler and Mr. Parkinson on KSBY and it seems to me this is a tempest in a teapot.

The essay questions were on an application form, not on a test! AND the police union, then under the control of Mr. Strobridge and Mr. Brennler got the whole application process thrown out.

Mr. Parkinson had to reapply, along with everybody else.

Not much of a story if you ask me. Unless you want to ask who Mr. Brennler is really speaking for… Dale E. Strobridge, undeclared candidate for sheriff, perhaps?

If this is the best “dirt” that Brennler and Co. has on Parkinson they should stop now before they embarrass themselves, or worse make our local D.A. start asking questions about how they came by those e-mails… There may be a crime here…

Careful boys your knife has a double edged blade on it..

By: OtisCampbell on 7/14/09


You’re working too hard here. The message re: OC’s Corona is that the wrong person wielding such authority can really mess things up for a lot of people.

It’s interesting to read that promotions in the upper echelons of many gov agencies, incl. police departments (and I assume at sheriff depts) do not require polygraph exams, as is done for’new hires’. Might be a good idea to do so.

Sometimes ‘experience’ bends things.


To saveslocounty: “Right On, right on”!!!

By: Saveslocounty on 7/14/09

So, here’s a candidate that admits he is not a very good writer and whose test was thrown out by a Superior Court Judge during a law suit. Having ones work proofed is of no concern but having someone else (bro) write a scored piece of the testing process demonstrates a clear lack of integrity. That piece was clearly not writen by someone who admits that aren’t a good writer making me draw one conclusion. Love you bro and thanks for the work.

regarding Parkinson, it is beginning to look like we are merely heading toward replacing Sheriff Hedges with a taller better looking version with the same lack of values system. If Parkinson didn’t want this information released, he should have been smart enough to not use a city computer and stop crying about someone stealing my email.

I heard that the next scandal is the inquiry into Parkinson being promoted to his current position of Captain when he failed to meet the Bachelor’s degree requirement and worked out a behind the scenes agreement with Chief Linden. Even at that, he failed to obtain the degree within a year as agreed but still holds the position. How about checking that out Karen? You are doing a great job of keeping us informed on the rest of the plot.

We are very tired of a Sheriff’s Department filled with unethical poor decision making from its leadership. Hedges has cost us millions of dollars that we could use to keep our communities safe instead of paying lawyers and settlements.

Sorry, Mr. Parkinson, you’re starting to make the home entertainment/clown candidate look pretty good. I hope he didn’t cheat during the big red nose application test.

By: BeenThereDoneThat on 7/14/09

My understanding of the Mike Carona case is that he was found guilty of witness tampering. He was charged and cleared of illegal campaign contributions and cash bribes.

How does that compare to this?? I didn’t read anything of simularities here.

By: OtisCampbell on 7/14/09

Interesting stuff. Just back from the beach-house in San Clemente. There, it’s all about Sheriff Mike Corona finally being sentenced to five years in prison. Now they’re taking down some of his cronies. A really bad scene.

SLO, we should be very concerned about who’s in the mix for this powerful position. I’m sure Charles Lynch is concerned.

By: rukidding on 7/14/09

This is just business as usual. From my experience, these top positions for promotions within most police and fire departments have usually been determined way before the notification for the position goes out for application. I know a man that was going for promotion within the slo fire department, of which he was a chosen one, and in fact he is a good guy. I asked him if the position had already been determined and he told me that he had already been chosen but that the department had to go thru the process. Nothing new here, its been going on for years and years.

By: BeenThereDoneThat on 7/14/09


I agree with the G.E.D’s. I know of two people personally who got G.E.D.’s, not because they weren’t good students, quite the opposite. They got bored with school. They were smart enough it was boring. One is above average I.Q the other genius level. So the G.E.D. arguement is a whole lot of nothing about nothing. Heck I know people with four year degrees that in my opinion are boobs!!

By: BeenThereDoneThat on 7/14/09

I don’t see a crime in having someone proof read something that is important.

I also would like to know more of what the rules state. If he can do this at home on his own time, I would think the powers that be would know that he could do this. If it was an important part of the test, that they were really concerned about, I would think then that it would have been administered in a supervised environment.

From the question I read, it was on general feelings of the department. I don’t see how what I read was going to put him in any better position than another applicant.

By: paperboy on 7/14/09

So what if he just has a GED. Under the state elections code, to be elected sheriff, if you have a master’s degree you’d need just 1 year’s experience in law enforcement, bachelor’s degree=2 years, associate degree=3 years and a High school diploma (or GED) =4 years experience. Given enough LE experience you could be like Jethro Bodeen — a 6th grade education and still be elected Sheriff.

Legally, he’s qualified to be Sheriff, it’s up to the voters to decide if they think that’s enough education to suit them.

Being a cop is one of the few professions where someone can get into it, have a long and successful career, and move up the ladder without having to go to college first. Firefighting is the same way. Most agencies offer pay hikes when their people go to night school and improve their educations, but it’s not absolutely necessary. The police academy is a trade school like schools for mechanics or computer techs and trains a person to do a particular job.

College isn’t for everyone and in fact not everyone should go to college. The world needs blue collar folks too.

BUT if he cheated on this test, then he should be fired and he AND his brother prosecuted for fraud.

But this happened in 2001, so probably the statute of limitations is up.

It’s a heck of a way to launch a political career.

By: Cindy on 7/14/09

BTDT – The application is a part of a required essay compilation “test” to determine a number of the applicants qualifications including communicative abilities. This is not an application for employment in the sense of a resume’ which he included with his “a– kissing” essay!

Sorry folks, I couldn’t help but throw in that last remark. Pick me, pick me, I love you Chief, I’m your best friend. Hahha, leave it to an attorney to write the award winning essay. One thing that I’m certain Ian didn’t lie about, Eric was definitely conveying the message that Ian wanted conveyed.

By: Honesty on 7/14/09

I feel that this series of articles represents malicious journalism. Once more the only crime here is the intentions behind this series of baseless articles.

In the word’s of Moliere: “those whose conduct gives room for talk are always the first to attack their neighbors”

Parkinson is an honest law enforcement officer and will make a fantastic Sheriff of our county!

By: BeenThereDoneThat on 7/14/09


I don’t know if it is same for all computers but when I drag cursor over page (essay) you mention, I get magnifing glass and when you click it enlarges page.

By: BeenThereDoneThat on 7/14/09

Whoa whoa whoa!!! I just read the link that has been fixed on the essay. Someone please tell me what I read wrong.

He says at the top find my application and resume. How do you cheat on a job app. (unless he lied about qualifications, which is not discussed) or cheat on a resume???!!!

By: rack-n-blurb on 7/14/09

In the words of Eric, “I love you, too”

It’s good to see the future Sheriff (and brother) in touch with his emotions. Is Eric going to write all of Ian’s press releases as the new Public information officer for SLOPD?

By: karen on 7/14/09

I have posted a page of the two questions through the essay link in the story. It is not very clear. I will type them out and post them at the bottom of the story.


By: BeenThereDoneThat on 7/14/09

Thank you Cindy. You got my point. From the link that I read on this, it is one sentence that proves nothing.

By: Cindy on 7/14/09


As far as I know Strobridge isn’t running for anything! After the “stunt” he pulled about having to get paid to put on his diapers I doubt that he could get elected as bathroom monitor.

By: Cindy on 7/14/09

Karen – Please post a full copy of the e-mail that Erik sent to Ian with the essay composition.

Please repair the link on this site that reveals the essay that Ian claimed as his own.

By: BeenThereDoneThat on 7/14/09


I have a couple questions. You state you have no doubt he cheated on the exam? You base on what points? Just curious.

BTW I am not a supporter of either one, nor do I know of either one.

By: Cindy on 7/14/09

I forgot to say, Thank You Mike Brennler, I know you always have facts to support your statements. I thank Karen also, I know she always has facts, even if she doesn’t always tell us where she got them.

By: Cindy on 7/14/09

It appears to me that Karen has simply brought some facts to light for us. If it involves the Parkinson family, then so be it. I have no doubt that Ian did cheat on his exam. The facts are right here in black and white. The Ian cronies may kick and scream about this “outing of Ian” but they can’t refute the facts. This guy has a GED education and doesn’t sound intellectually up to the position of Sheriff anyway. I agree with Sharibaby, we need to bring in someone from the outside and put a STOP to this GOB network.

As for Erik Parkinson, perhaps he was looked at as a result of his favors to Ian. I don’t know but what I do know is that something with his fund raising NGO seems amiss. I have two missionary friends returning from Bangalore this week. They have been visiting orphanages in that area and it would appear that the average annual cost to run a fully functional orphanage with far more children than VeAhavta support is approximately 18K annually. The building costs are also far less (like 60% less) than what VeAhavta seems to spend. Another eyebrow raiser is the fact that Erik Parkinson has continuously claimed over several years that he is assisting the homeless in SLO. This is something that he has not done with the funds. Of course it helps to say it on the tax returns because the gov is aware of the average cost to run an NGO in Sri Lanka. I have no doubt that these FACTS will all be coming out soon.


I don’t quite understand the nature of the complaints regarding Ian Parkinson’s rise to power in the SLOPD and why his behavior would have interested the public 10 years ago, if not for the fact that he has now taken it upon himself to run for public office! For those of you who don’t understand my statement, let me simplify it -who would have given a cr*p years ago. Nobody knew him, nobody cared what he did then or what type of behavior and favors where being passed out for those on the “A” list in the PD?! It is only now that he has decided to place himself into the public realm that this would make any sense to put out. Come on folks, try to see the forest. Those of you friends or cohorts with Ian, I applaud your right to defend. However, the one thing you need to know about Mike is that he ALWAYS, ALWAYS has facts to back up his statements.

By: Brady on 7/14/09

I have known and worked with Parkinson, Lenthall, Strobridge and Brennler for going on 20 years. All are hard working; decent men and I consider them friends.

I find it disheartening that politics has become so dirty that issues and friendships are trumped by personal attacks. I encourage them to state their differences, however:

“Let he who is without sin, cast the first stone”

By: sharibaby on 7/14/09

“Your (sp) playing with the varsity Suckitup. My name is Mike Brennler … what’s yours?” Good thing Ian didn’t ask Mike to write his essay exam questions.

Again I must ask, can’t we do better than these choices?How about someone from out of the area? Chief Linden came from out of the area. Fire Chief Callahan is from LA. Neither has the stink of local cronyism on them for this very reason. Ok, I know the Sheriff is an elected post. Too Bad.

By: MikeB on 7/14/09


The Tribune posts you allude to were not authored by me. I have seen the blog name “MikeB” on Trib articles and have wondered if people would confuse me as the author. I am not.

As related to my politics I have been a Republican for 39 years, although very moderate in my views, particularly issues of social justice. The last few years have left me disillusioned with the GOP and I changed my party affiliation.

As related to Sotomayor I have found her very intelligent and articulate and hope she is confirmed.

If you ever want to sit down over a cup of coffee and talk politics let me know.

Mike Brennler

By: mccdave on 7/14/09

I guess the overall lack of professionalism and brainpower in local police departments should be no surprise given these sorts of antics. Sharibaby’s right: these guys are all tainted and none too impressive. If Ian Parkinson did this, he’s not qualified.

Mike Brennler has lately been posting comments under Tribune articles, and they present a cartoonish right-wing dittohead point of view, scapegoating illegal alien “invaders” while calling Sonia Sotomayor a “racist.” (Even Newt Gingrich retracted his “racist” characterization, and he’s not the most temperate critter out there. Apparently Brennler sees no irony in the juxtaposition of his two comments.) I don’t care about someone’s conservative politics, but vacuous, hateful politics are another matter, especially in law enforcement. Cops should have a more nuanced understanding of people.

By: MartyTracey on 7/14/09

Mike Brennler has a point in response to “Suckitup” when he says: “My name is Mike Brennler … what’s yours?”

Unless you anonymous posters are willing to provide your true identities, what you have to say about anything should not be taken seriously.

I suspect that if your true identities were known, all the allegations you make as to the motives of others will be shown to be nothing more than gross hypocrisy.

By: hotdog on 7/14/09

TBK, you said

“Yes, here is a photo of Brennler and his long-time buddy Dale Strobridge (page 9) chowing down at the donut shop:

Are you nuts? What do you mean, yes? The photo is of a number of cops lined up for a photo op, big deal. You make it sound like some sort of conspiracy, a real coup for the whiners here. It means nothing except they were probably both active cops at the same time. Jeez, what’s up with the jokers blogging here? Get a life; the subject is Ian, not Mike or Dale. If you can discredit the story then do it; sounds like none of you can.

I remind the readers; for over 18 months CCN has brought us awkward and ugly stories about slime in our county. This site has never been proven wrong despite all the whining by dozens of people who didn’t like the light of day shed on their activities. I see they are back in force with this report.

By: insider on 7/14/09

If Brenler is against him I’m for him. He’s got my three votes.

By: Afriendindeed on 7/14/09

Let’s start with a shout out to all of Ian’s cronies in SLOPD who are blogging here, trying to distract us from the real issue — whether Ian Parkinson is an honest, ethical man.

Let’s all say hi to all of Ian’s supporters who have posted here attacking Velie, suggesting that she’s in bed with another candidate, trying to distract us from the real issue — whether Ian Parkinson is an honest, ethical man.

See my point? When all is said and done, this isn’t about Velie, or Strowbridge, or Brennler. It’s about one single man. His name is Ian Parkinson.

Nobody cared about these allegations before Parkinson decided to run for top county cop. Now it matters, especially given the slimeball who has held that office for 12 years. Integrity counts. Cheating on your exam is cheating. End of story.

Why did Parkinson continue to get promoted? I suspect it had to do with the fact that Gardiner and Linden both like him. My question: How do you get to be a Captain in a police department when all you have is a GED? I mean, how stupid are you that you can’t even graduate high school? I want to know more.

Let’s keep the focus where it belongs: Ian Parkinson. Did he cheat? Did his brother help him get promoted? The evidence seems to suggest that — someone has some explaining to do.

It’s not Karen Velie.

By: Truthbeknown on 7/13/09

By: sharibaby on 7/13/09 said: “Time for all of you yokels to retire, get a job at another government teet and drain the public cofers till nothing is left.”

Brennler is already sucking us dry off his cushy government pension which he and his buddy Strobridge helped to negotiate while members of SLOPOA.

By: 24theroad on 7/13/09

Varsity? Oh’ please…Mike thou has one high opinion of one’s self. please run for sheriff or have your buddy run so you can show us poor voters/taxpayers how bright you….please

By: suckitup on 7/13/09


You didn’t answer my seven or eight questions…just one. Why not all the rest? Just for sh**ts and giggles? Come on! Are there answers?

So, you did answer one, and I appreciate that!…”I did bring the cheating issue in the past. Simply ask SLOPD Chief Deb Linden. We discussed the cheating in my exit interview.”

How would anyone ever know that unless you made that public? I am sure that an exit interview is private information, not for public knowledge?

I guess I am just full of questions! One more. If you are going to show your exit interview here soon…why didn’t you show this to the public when it was vital information back then? Inquiring minds want to know.

“Playing with the varsity”…???

MikeB, I am not playing games here. I am asking valid questions and not getting many answers from you. Is it because I asked too many?

This is not a game to me. I just want to know the truth behind all my options…that’s all.

And questions unanswered…hmmmmmmmm???

By: MikeB on 7/13/09

Suckitup writes:

“I have one question. Why didn’t you bring this all out when Parkinson was named Sgt…and then Lt…and then Captain? You have had plenty of time to inform us of this information back then, quoting you “for taxpayers have a right to the truth.” Why now? Was did you think this information was not that important when Parkinson was named Sgt, Lt. and Capt. of SLOPD? Didn’t you think that the taxpayers would want to know about this within their local Police Dept? Didn’t we deserve the truth back then in you letting us know who was chosen to lead our law enforcement agency in SLO as a Sgt, a Lt., or a Captain?

Why now, MikeB? Why now? Why wasn’t it as important back then? ”

Suckitup: You suggested you had one question but you ask, what,seven or eight questions?

I did bring the cheating issue in the past. Simply ask SLOPD Chief Deb Linden. We discussed the cheating in my exit interview (Jan 2004). I will post my exit interview docs in near future. I think it will shed some light on this matter.

Your playing with the varsity Suckitup. My name is Mike Brennler … what’s yours?

By: sharibaby on 7/13/09

My vote is for none of the above. All the mudslinging makes everyone dirty. It seems like the County could use a grown up from out of the area to clean up the sheriff’s department.

Time for all of you yokels to retire, get a job at another government teet and drain the public cofers till nothing is left.

By: Truthbeknown on 7/13/09

By: 24theroad on 7/13/09 said “So Mike for full disclosure are you going to tell us that you are a business partner with one of the talked about candidates? Also for full disclosure did you take the test and not get promoted? And did your business partner also take the test and not get promoted? just wondering for full disclosure….”

Yes, here is a photo of Brennler and his long-time buddy Dale Strobridge (page 9) chowing down at the donut shop:

By: suckitup on 7/13/09

Hey MikeB,

You stated “It did not deter me from doing what is right.

Voters and taxpayers deserve the truth in helping them determine who will lead the largest law enforcement agency in our county.

The issue here is integrity and it IS related to the upcoming selection of Sheriff”

I have one question. Why didn’t you bring this all out when Parkinson was named Sgt…and then Lt…and then Captain? You have had plenty of time to inform us of this information back then, quoting you “for taxpayers have a right to the truth.” Why now? Was did you think this information was not that important when Parkinson was named Sgt, Lt. and Capt. of SLOPD? Didn’t you think that the taxpayers would want to know about this within their local Police Dept? Didn’t we deserve the truth back then in you letting us know who was chosen to lead our law enforcement agency in SLO as a Sgt, a Lt., or a Captain?

Why now, MikeB? Why now? Why wasn’t it as important back then?

Please don’t treat us like idiots! This is strictly political.

If you were true to your heart…you would have brought this out years ago, wanting the people of SLO to know what was going on.

Now…in the midst of a campaign…which is going to be ugly, obviously…you bring this out?

I have to be honest! I would have respected your information as somewhat believable and raised some questions if you brought it out when Capt. Parkinson promoted within SLOPD. You had three chances! Why not then?

And now?

You worked for SLOPD. If you were as passionate about it back then as you lead us to believe you are passionate about the allegations now…why didn’t you let us know back then?

Grow up! Why aren’t you running if you are so passionate about this race? You pick and chose your own battles! This one isn’t yours!

Let the people who are in the race confront the issues.

All this BS makes me not want to vote. And truthfully, quite a lot of other people I have talked to get sick of this BS at the start of these political battles. Take it to the playground.

I, for one, will vote for Parkinson…just because you didn’t let me know any of this information before…when it would have been vital…if it is true. Which, of course, makes me think…BS!!!

Parkinson has my vote! You didn’t give me a chance MikeB to research. You didn’t give me a chance. And just for that reason…Suckitup!

By: Truthbeknown on 7/13/09

Please do not question Brennler’s motives. Can you not see that He is sinless?

It is His mission in life to point out all of our faults. He is Atascadero’s savior!

By: 24theroad on 7/13/09

What’s the big deal questioning Brennlers motives? If he wants to act like he’s of the highest regard helping us poor voters/taxpayers than why can’t his motives be questioned?

By: bluemule on 7/13/09

I have the highest respect for both Mike Brennler and Karen Velie, due to their fearless and selfless pursuit of the truth in what appears to be an increasingly corrupt county. They’ve worked hard to shine much-needed light on the dishonest workings of the nod-nod wink-wink good old boy network, and judging from many of the quick and caustic comments to these forums they’ve really hit some nerves. As always, the truth hurts. But this despicably rotten behaviour on the part of public servants, elected officials and business leaders needs to be layed out for all the voting populace to see if there’s to be any hope for a prosperous and respectable future for SLO county.

My sincere thanks to you both. Keep up the good work and just ignore the small-minded bullies.

By: hotdog on 7/13/09

Well, Mike and Dale are not the issue here. Nor is Karen. If folks would stick to the facts and subject of the article it would help the reader to understand the issues. Ranting and name calling reduces one’s credibility.

By: 24theroad on 7/13/09

So Mike for full disclosure are you going to tell us that you are a business partner with one of the talked about candidates? Also for full disclosure did you take the test and not get promoted? And did your business partner also take the test and not get promoted? just wondering for full disclosure….

By: insider on 7/13/09

Poor guy. I will vote for him. Having Brennler on you is like having something stuck on your shoe. First you smell it, then try as you might you just can’t seem to scrape it off.

By: MikeB on 7/13/09

When I went on the record with this story I knew that there would be those who would attempt to slay the messenger. It did not deter me from doing what is right.

Voters and taxpayers deserve the truth in helping them determine who will lead the largest law enforcement agency in our county.

I will issue another statement soon, as well as providing additional evidence of impropriety related to the promotional process utilized by SLOPD in the late 1990s, 2000 and 2001 and I will identify Jim Gardiner and Ian Parkinson’s role in what I consider absolute dishonesty.

The issue here is integrity and it IS related to the upcoming selection of Sheriff. If you choose to label my intentions political so be it! The voters and taxpayers have a right to the truth.

Mike Brennler

By: calvertworthington on 7/13/09

Agree with “Bob”. The office “Sheriff” should require someone above reproach. There should be an independent review of the “facts”, perhaps by the State Attorney General. Otherwise, should a candidate under a cloud be elected, the office would be tainted.

By: elizabeth123 on 7/13/09

Oh please. Ian is an excellent cop with a great reputation.

By: bobfromsanluis on 7/13/09

I for one as a voter in San Luis county would like to have the charges in this article answered by Captain Parkinson. If there is no truth to the claims of the article, say so and have the proof of the accusations presented. If there is slander, let’s see a lawsuit. If there is any validity to the charges at all, I would like Captain Parkinson to answer for his actions. I don’t care if Cal Coast News has a “thing” for the Parkinson family, if there is truth to the charges. If Mike Brennler or Dale Strobridge is involved in the accusations, perhaps they can answer what their motivation is in bringing this to Cal Coast News now. I would like to see a “clean” election to the position of Sheriff of San Luis Obispo County since I feel the position has been tainted by the performance of Pat Hedges. If Captain Parkinson will not answer to the charges here, he should simply withdraw his candidacy for Sheriff.


RUKIDDING – it’s Strobridge. At least spell the name correctly if your going to slander it!


To LLAR: Your whole problem with the story is that Brennler’s name is attached to it?! You don’t remember he was a Police Officer at SLO Police and worked with Ian Parkinson? You don’t remember that he was a member of the POA? HELLO!! Why can’t he have an opinion on something that he was very involved in at the time, with the above and the pseudo-Chief Jim Gardner!!! WHy is it that integrity is only good if you adhere to it 8 years later?! That is EXACTLY the kind of thinking that helps us elect dishonest, coat-tail riding people to office. Instead of focusing on the facts as presented, you tend to ride off on a rant against someone who actually gave his name instead of being a “unnamed source”. Would you?!

By: hotdog on 7/13/09

Some of you folks are too much. Because CCN comes up with lots of reports makes them suspect? Au contraire. I find these articles interesting and wonder where the opposing facts are, if any.

By: rukidding on 7/13/09

This is all pretty simple to figure out. Brennler is Vellie’s source for her comments regarding Atscadero and Brennler and Strowbridge are partners. Rumor has it that Strowbridge would appoint Brennler as Undersheriff if elected. Now why do you think CCN is attacking Parkinson?

By: sharibaby on 7/13/09

Lots of smoke makes me think fire. All this cronyism is sickening. Yet the fact that cal coast news seems more than eager to be the trigger man for the political opponents of the Parkinsons makes me suspicious of these posts.

Cheating on tests or smearing reputations…which is worse? Not sure myself.

By: interestedreader on 7/13/09

Are you kidding me….”former police officers have charged he did this in 2001″

Does it strike anyone else as suspicious when the former head of the San Luis Obispo Police Officers’ Association (Dale E. Strobridge ) is running against Parkinson for Sheriff.

And all of the sudden this story surfaces…….in 2009!

Is anybody else sick of these types of attacks on seemingly good people who are running for office. I mean, this is the sheriff’s race for Gods sake. Accusations, innuendo, it just seems to take peoples minds off whether Mr. Parkinson will make a good sheriff.

If he did something wrong in 2001, then why would he be a Captain in the SLO PD. He must have not only passed his sergeants test but I assume he would have had to pass a Captains exam as well.

I don’t know Parkinson but I hear hes a good guy. All I know about Stowbridge is that he’s been a union boss for years with both the police and sheriffs. I remember reading that he was the one who spearheaded the law suit against SLO for having to retroactively pay the officers for the time the spent putting on their uniforms over the years. I know a couple of law enforcement guys and they told me that it never dawned on them that they should be paid for when they showed up to work, put on their uniforms and then clocked in… just another law suit that I shook my head at and thought…is it a free for all in our courts.

So i wont vote for Stowbridge either way…I can’t support someone who spends his time looking for loopholes and then exploiting them.

I read Cal Coast News to get away from all the slanted, back handed bu**s**t that I read and see in the mainstream press….please don’t start down this road.

By: Bluebird on 7/13/09

Karen does have the facts. Reread the article with an open mind.

By: Lifelongatasresident on 7/13/09

It sure does seem CCn has a thing for the Parkinsons. Why is she doing this to this family and who appointed ehr mud slinger. I might have beleived some of it but there is too much from her. I do not believe anything Brennler says at all. anything beyond hello from him should be checked into further. Karen, why do you feel you need to bring all this stuff about everyone and can you please prove it or have provable facts BEFORE you print it?

By: JorgeEstrada on 7/13/09

It looks like Karen is willing to take on the village to make it a better place for

you and me, but sometimes I wounder about you?

By: Newsome on 7/13/09

This is good information, and we are all the better for having it out on the table.

However, this article, coupled with the Eric Parkinson articles last week (which I still need some convincing that they are not of questionable merit), makes it seem that CCN has a “thing” for the Parkinsons.

Have the Parkinsons slighted CCN?

Is CCN being fed “dirt” on Parkinson by a competitor in the bid for sheriff? If so, which competitor?

Or have I been reading too much “Spy vs Spy” claptrap?