6 Glendale police officers are placed on leave
Six Glendale police officers were placed on paid administrative leave for a variety of alleged incidents, including using a police vehicle for a trip to Las Vegas and a case of off-duty road rage, sources told The Times.
The Glendale Police Department would not provide details of the cases, saying they are prohibited from publicly speaking about internal administrative matters. But officials said the action is part of an effort by Glendale Police Chief Ronald De Pompa to enforce a zero-tolerance policy on police misconduct.
“Chief De Pompa will continue to hold his police officers to a very high professional standard to ensure that the members of this community have confidence that they are getting the best possible police service,” said Glendale police spokesman Sgt. Tom Lorenz.
Glendale Mayor Ara Najarian said he supported De Pompa’s action, saying he believes it will make the department better. De Pompa “sends the message this type of misconduct will not be tolerated and this type of misconduct will not be forgiven,” Najarian said.
One case dates back two years and involves an officer who allegedly had a sexual relationship with the estranged wife of a man who was a suspect in a criminal investigation. A more recent incident involved three officers accused of using a police vehicle for a personal trip to Las Vegas during the holiday season, according multiple sources, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
Another case involves an officer who stands accused of a road-rage incident in Burbank in October. According to court records, Officer Eric Ritter allegedly got into a dispute with another motorist that ended in a fight. The Burbank city attorney’s office charged Ritter with misdemeanor battery in December. He has pleaded not guilty and claimed self defense. He could not be reached for comment Thursday.
The names of the other officers were not available.
Najarian said De Pompa is taking a tougher approach to misconduct in the department.
“The actions by the chief are much more bold and forceful than in any prior chief,” he said. “He sets certain standards and expects officers to meet those higher standards.”
De Pompa became chief in 2009, replacing Randy Adams, who moved to run the police department in Bell, where he and other top leaders were swept up in a salary scandal. Adams, who earned $457,000 per year in Bell, resigned as chief there last summer along with City Administrator Robert Rizzo and Deputy City Manager Angela Spaccia.
Glendale was sued last year by several police officers who claimed they were discriminated against and harassed because of their ethnic background or race. Their lawsuits claimed senior management allowed some misconduct by white officers to continue.
While Najarian didn’t cite any names, he said previous department leaders were not as aggressive in dealing with allegations of officer misconduct.
“You don’t get a pass for years of good work,” he said.
It’s unclear how long the investigations will take to complete.
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