Facebook has the strong ability to get people in trouble for posting stuff that they shouldn’t or principals making fake accounts to spy on their students. Most people get in trouble for the stuff that they have posted that disparages their teacher or parent. But what about if you are a public official commenting on the state of your department?
The police chief in the small delta town of Isleton, California is going through this reality right now. Isleton police Chief Steven Adams was put on paid leave by City Manager Dan Hinrichs.
“He came in yelling at me and telling me to get out of the police department now,” said Chief Adams. “confused, frustrated, I didn’t know what to feel.”
When City Manager Dan Hinrichs was asked about why Chief Adams was put on leave he said that public complaints led to the issue getting to the point it was at. Chief Adams isn’t buying the excuse. “No, I don’t believe that because I’ve had nothing but support from the public.”
He believes that this is happening because he has been very vocal on Facebook about the department’s problems that include the Sacramento county sheriffs department taking over law enforcement duties in January due to workers comp not being paid by the city to its officers.
As of this time Chief Adams is placed on paid leave and it is not clear when or if he will be allowed to go back to work. Because he is on leave, the Sacramento Sheriffs department will have to take over services for the second time this year.http://www.news10.net/video/default.aspx?bctid=1632896234001
"I put on my Facebook that I'm frustrated and not going to keep my mouth shut anymore," Adams said.
Adams posted on his public Facebook profile that he was going to contact media about numerous problems with Isleton's public safety. The next morning, Adams was called into the city manager's office and told he was placed on leave.
Adams said he was not given a reason for being placed off-duty, but Hinrichs had printed copies of Adams' Facebook profile on his desk.
Hinrichs said he gave Adams a reason and is sending him a written notice Thursday. Hinrichs said there were several complaints against Adams that need to be investigated.
Adams, however, lists a variety of problems within the funds and operations of city hall and the police department that he said need immediate attention. According to Adams, Isleton's four officers have been without firearm, emergency vehicle and tactical training for more than a year. He said he sent emails to city council members, the former city manager Dave Larson and current manager Hinrichs over the course of several months asking for funds to complete the required training.
"You can pull the tapes from council meetings where I stood up and I said this is what we need and why we need it," Adams said. "Their answer was always that there wasn't any money."
Hinrichs, however, said Adams never gave the city a purchase order with specific costs and that Adams told him he worked out a deal with the Citrus Heights Police Department to conduct the firearm training for free, but it has yet to be scheduled.
Adams also complains that department lost all of its firearms, 18 handguns and 8 rifles, after the manufacturer repossessed the guns when the city didn't pay its credit bill.
"Three weeks ago, I got a call from the gun manufacturer Sigsauer saying 'We want our guns and we want them back now,' and they sent the UPS stickers to turn them over," Adams said.
Isleton's former police chief purchased the firearms on credit, anticipating the money would come from revenue from a legal marijuana farm. The marijuana farm never happened and the bill for the guns was never paid.
Hinrichs said the amount of firearms purchased was unnecessary for the small department and he couldn't give answers to actions by the former chief and former city manager.
The city has since purchased four handguns for the officers.
Adams said he's suspicious of where $25,000 from a state grant he secured in February has disappeared. Adams said the $25,000 was the first installment of a $100,000 Boots On The Streets grant to hire more officers. When he asked the former city manager Dave Larson for the money, he was told it was gone to paying officers' back pay.
"There was only one officer working full-time last fall," Adams said. "If there was back pay, it would be for him, but not that much money."
Hinrichs said none of what Adams is saying about past problems has to do with why he is on leave now. Hinrichs said city hall is concerned about public safety for next month's Crawdad Festival and will bring in outside law enforcement to help patrol. As for solutions to long-term public safety staffing, Hinrichs said he's considering several options.
Adams is on paid administrative leave while city hall investigates the complaints against him. He recently contacted the Peace Officers Standards & Training to conduct an audit of the Isleton Police Department.
TUNE IN NEXT WEEK FOR MORE DRAMA ON THE DELTA....
TUNE IN NEXT WEEK FOR MORE DRAMA ON THE DELTA....
Tha..Tha..Tha..Thats all folks!