Paso Robles criminalizing homelessness

October 29, 2012


My name is Jon Tatro and I have been a police officer with the city of Paso Robles for more than 25 years. I am the officer who reported PRPD for illegal ticket quotas. I currently have a lawsuit against the city for whistleblower retaliation. This article is not about me; it is about the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights. I only represent myself with this article and in no way represent the city, police department, or any other officer or employee of the city.

I have enclosed an excerpt from my most recent annual evaluation written by Sgt. Tod Rehner and approved by city hall and acting Chief Robert Burton. Sgt. Rehner suggested our shift have a “shift project” which was dealing with transients. This is what Sgt. Rehner wrote:

“Another example of Officer Tatro’s attitude came about during the shift’s ‘shift project’ discussion. I brought up the recent problems that transient subjects were presenting to businesses in terms of loitering, trespassing, and theft, and in turn the impact on law enforcement through higher call volumes.

“Officer Tatro was adamantly opposed to contacting transient subjects because he believed that we were just picking on people because they were ‘dirty and smelled.’ He further said that they really did not do anything and we rarely received legitimate calls in regard to transient problems.”

“Dispatcher (name withheld) was in briefing and quickly informed Officer Tatro that dispatch received numerous calls per day regarding complaints surrounding transients. I pointed out to Officer Tatro that calls such as public intoxication, sleeping within city limits, assaults, and thefts among other issues, were directly related to transient populations.

“Officer Tatro did not agree and refused to participate in the project. The shift ultimately chose a different project. I was surprised that Officer Tatro’s opinion was so far removed from what was actually occurring with this group of people.”

It should be noted it is not against the law to be a transient and the Supreme Court has ruled “loitering” is not a crime unless it is associated with other criminal action. To target “transients” is to profile people based on their socio-economic status.

I have found in my long career that criminals come in every color, race and socio-economic class. We call these people “criminals.” The reason lady justice is blind folded is because the Constitution was intended to give equal treatment under the law regardless of how you are dressed or if you carry your home in a backpack.

The Jim Crow laws made it illegal for black people to “loiter” in front of businesses because it made their white customers “feel uncomfortable.” The “transients” have a First Amendment right to wave their cardboard signs in a public place with very few exceptions, whether we like it or not.

I am not a bleeding heart homeless advocate; as a matter of fact I personally hate to see able-bodied people beg for money when they could be productive citizens. I am a U.S. Constitution advocate.

My personal opinion cannot dictate how I pursue criminals. If people are publicly intoxicated, arrest them; if they trespass, arrest them; if they commit any crime, call them a criminal and arrest them. If you get sleepy, take a five-hour energy because according to Sgt. Rehner, “Sleeping within the city limits” is a crime.

Other than criminal street gangs, Hells Angels, drug cartels etc., the police should never look at people as a “group.” There are many transients who do not commit crimes, and bring a lot of money to our community. We call them tourists. I’m glad Jesus isn’t around Paso Robles because he would certainly be targeted as a “transient group,” being born in a stable and all.

The city and police department administration are trying to portray me as a “lazy malcontent” for a variety of reasons and have made it clear my career with PRPD is done and I have no future. The facts are the facts, the truth is the truth and that is all I can live by. Hate me , love me, I don’t care, I can look at myself in the mirror every day and not be ashamed. I am far from perfect, but I have never dishonored my profession or the Constitution of the United States.

Some PRPD administrators and most officers strive to serve the citizens of Paso Robles as best they can under the circumstances. It has been my honor to serve the amazing citizens of Paso Robles for 25-plus years.


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Why Are Police Beating up Disabled People?

Oh, but it is O.K. to leave your gun in your unlocked car and let it get stolen, grasp the privates of your subordinates, set ticket quotas, steal money from other local business with a flawed bankruptcy, etc. What a bunch of crap. People, this is the time to step up and vote the incumbents OUT of city council. Strong and Gillman supported the meter maid’s payoff for misconduct, DO NOT support them now.

Agreed, but don’t forget Picanco. He ALSO steadfastly supported Lovely Lisa until the bitter end. NONE of the incumbents have my vote…or my trust.

Yes, this is OK, when you realize that this is the city we all live in and is being run by those in power.

They get to make their own rules.

For those of us who have not yet voted by absentee ballot or by mail-in ballot – you have just 7 more days to decide if you really want Paso Robles to change. Think about it very carefully. And then vote the incumbents OUT. This is your one, and last, chance to get the point across to Gilman, Strong, and Picanco that what they have been party to for the past 2 years has not been in the best interests

of the citizens of this city. The only message they will every come close to understanding is the message of the ballot box.

Let them know that their total mismanagement of the Solomon affair, the funbling around with water and sewer replacement funds (or lack of funding for these infrastructure items) will not be accepted.

They must go. And the 12 year, 1/2% tax increase to be used as they see fit also must be defeated.

Yes, it is OK, when you consider the city we all live in and is being run by those in power. They get to make their own rules.

For those who have not already voted by absentee or mail-in ballot, you have 7 more days to decide if this is the city you really want. The only statement these people will ever understand is the statement from the ballot box. Vote Gilman, Strong, and Picanco OUT. Let them know that what they have been party to for the past 2 years – the Solomon affair, lack of funding for necessary infrastructure improvements (water, sewer, and roads) will not be accepted.

They must go. Also the 12 year, 1/2% tax for the general fund must be overwhelmingly defeated.

It is way past the time that our elected city officails need to be responsive to the citizens, not their special interests.

I thought Gilman (at the CPRN2012 Candidate Forum) indicated he thought it was a TERRIBLE idea?

ALL of the current council members voted, in closed session, to approve Lisa Solomon’s “BUH-BYE!” payout presented by App.


MINUTES, City Council Meeting 3/20/2012



Public Employee Discipline/Dismissal/Release Gov. Code section 54957

After closed session, the Council went back into open session. City Attorney Iris Yang announced that the City Council had unanimously approved a separation agreement between the City and Police Chief Lisa Solomon.

Either Ms. Yang can not count or Mr. Gilman has decided the grass is greener on the ‘terrible’ idea side of the fence! My belief is that Mr. Gilman would like to forget it ever happened and is hoping that the majority of Paso Robles citizens have forgotten about this issue. )Or at least believe him now when he says it was a terrible idea. Just one more thing under the rug and out of sight.

Hopefully that is not the case and Tuesday’s election results will prove that. Even if Gilman and Strong are re-elected (god forbid), this issue should not be forgotten – the CC still owes the citizens a more believable story than to say “all personnel issues are Mr. Apps responsibility”. Unless they also want to say that Mr. App has the authority to spend our tax dollars as he sees fit. If so, then why do we even have a CC?

I support Officer Tatro in refusing to comply with the directive to go after ‘homeless’ people, just because. I hope he has the common sense to be absolutely sure that everthing is written down and he has a copy of it – there is very little doubt that some other city officials desire his *ss.

My other big concern, and one that will remain, is this : Does Mr. Tatro have what it is going to take to see this through to the end? Will he be bought off, like Ms. Solomon? Time will tell. I also hope he

is encouraging his legal advisors to get it going, what is the hangup with case? Who’s dragging this out, him or the city?

Mr. Tatro, we need more people like you in this world. Thank you for your service, dedication, and honesty. You are appreciated.

I agree, Danika. Tatro must have *alls the size of oranges to take on the city in a lawsuit.

However, I firmly believe that it will take lawsuits to wake up PR city government.

Here is how a group of officers handled their management who tried to force them to meet ticket quotas. Doesn’t it sound familiar?


“Officers who alleged LAPD traffic ticket quota system win $2-million judgment”


A jury on Monday awarded $2 million to two Los Angeles police officers in a civil suit against the city and the department alleging there was a “quota system” for writing traffic tickets on the city’s Westside.

Officers Howard Chan and David Benioff, veteran motor officers with the LAPD’s West Traffic Division, sued the department in 2009, alleging that their captain mandated each motor officer to write 18 tickets a day, according to the suit.

In addition to the quota, officers were told the tickets they gave out had to be for “major movers” such as speeding, lane straddling or running a red light — offenses that could each generate revenue of several hundred dollars each….


Mr. Tatro,

You Sir, are a patriot, and a model of how law enforcement should protect and serve the public. Thank you for your service to our community!

After reading this it makes me want to ask a couple questions: does this Officer Tatro actually have something on the city that will require them to pay him an enormous amount of hush money, and/or has the city promoted people that really have no experience or clue on how to deal with this type of employee situation.

Pardon my error. Currently the Like or Dislike tally for Mr. Tatro’s comments are 26 Likes and 3 Dislikes. It should actually tally 27 Likes and 2 Dislikes. I made an error when commenting.


That’s okay. I hit the “up” icon twice for you. So you are now one ahead. You win!

This sounds to me like someone is having a temper tantrum about getting a bad evaulation and trying to target his supervisors for doing their job. Maybe if you put your energy into your job rather than complaining in a public forum you would be in the position. As a citizen of Paso Robles the transients are a huge problem. I am happy to hear that someone at the police department thinks so too and is trying to do something about it.

It sounds to me like you are not very well informed. It seems ex-chief Lisa Solomon had a ticket quota system in place, as well. Two LAPD officers, just a few months ago, won $2.1million because of their own department’s ticket-quota system.

motherbee temper tantrums is what Solomon and Burton did when they were told their ticket quota and hostile work environment activities were illegal. Ofc. Tatro is sharing his Opinion and fustration of how the PRPD is being run. Nothing has changed since solomon left, because her right hand man who participated in the illegal activities along with her is now running the PRPD. In the PRPD you are promoted by how much supervisor a** you kiss not by your qualifications or work ethic. Tatro doesn’t play that game that is why he has not been promoted.

PRPD has many outstanding officers, but having worked around that Department for three decades as a Sheriff’s Office supervisor I found that ticket quotas played a big part of their employee evaluations and many PRPD supervisors and administrators over the years were not shy about stating the importance of numbers vs. quality of service.