GLENDALE — Three Glendale police officers who took a patrol car on a joyride to Las Vegas are no longer working for the department after a weeks-long misconduct investigation.
City spokesman Tom Lorenz confirmed that Officers Patrick Hamblin, Fernando Salmeron and Mike Ullerich were no longer employees with the city, but declined to say for what cause.
City sources confirmed, however, that the trio had taken the patrol car to Vegas, although officials have refused to discuss the case of the subsequent investigation.
Salmeron and Ullerich were officially “separated” from the city as of March 29, and Hamblin on April 1, Lorenz said.
“They are no longer employees,” Lorenz said. “They are no longer on the payroll for the city.”
Reached by phone on Wednesday, Ullerich declined to comment on the matter. Neither Hamblin nor Salmeron could be reached.
City officials are continuing to investigate claims that a number of other officers engaged in misconduct, including that one who allegedly had an affair with the estranged wife of a man he arrested. Another allegedly made a sexual solicitation, and one was reported for creating a hostile work environment. A fourth officer was allegedly involved in an off-duty road-rage incident in Burbank.
Officials have so far declined to discuss those cases, but police Chief Ron De Pompa has in recent months been trumpeting the implementation of his zero-tolerance policy. And last week, the City Council signed off on a new computer software program that will allow command staff to better track complaints of misconduct made against police officers.
When employees are disciplined, they receive a formal notification, called a Skelly letter, which details the intended disciplinary action against them, the date it becomes effective and the rule or policy that was violated, according to city officials.
Some disciplinary actions could include suspension, demotion, termination or mandatory employee assistance or rehabilitation.
The letter also notifies employees of their rights to appeal the violation with management before a final determination is made. The process could take weeks.
Employees have five days to appeal the final decision to the Civil Service Commission.
Three employee disciplines were deliberated in closed session during an April 13 Civil Service Commission meeting, but the matter was continued to April 27.
Lorenz declined to say if the session involved the three officers, citing workplace privacy rules.
Officer Larry Ballesteros, president of the Glendale Police Officers Assn., said the union hasn’t been in contact with the officers.
And while the Police Department will be operating with fewer officers on patrol, Ballesteros said he wanted to assure residents that “safety is first and foremost.”
“We just got to do more with less,” he said.