Burbank police chief: Valento case called an 'isolated incident'

Burbank Police Chief Scott LaChasse this week called the alleged misconduct of a Burbank police officer “an isolated incident” that didn’t involve any other police personnel.

Anthony Valento, a 17-year veteran of the Burbank Police Department, is accused of lying to federal officials during an extortion investigation involving the officer, his girlfriend and her estranged husband.

“There’s no evidence that other people were involved or had knowledge of what was occurring,” LaChasse said of the allegations against Valento.

Burbank internal affairs investigators — initially without knowing about the federal corruption investigation into Valento — have been investigating the officer since around May for alleged misconduct because that month, a superior noticed Valento’s response times to calls for service were delayed, records show.

Valento remains on paid administrative leave as the internal affairs investigation into his performance remains ongoing, LaChasse said.

Valento is among the three police officers in recent months to be placed on leave. There’s no connection between the three cases, LaChasse said.

One of them — Mark Armendariz, former president of the Burbank Police Officers’ Assn. — was fired in July for reasons city officials have declined to divulge. His internal appeal remains pending.

LaChasse added that Valento’s case has no connection to the alleged officer misconduct tied to the 2007 Porto’s Bakery robbery investigation, which three years ago cost 10 officers their jobs.

All but one of the officers fired appealed their terminations, six of which remain pending.

One of them dropped all claims against the city and gave up his administrative appeal more than a year ago, with the city also agreeing to dismiss its cross complaint against him, records show.

An arbitrator recommended the city manager uphold the termination of a second officer who subsequently challenged the decision in court, with a hearing slated for next month.

Most recently, an arbitrator in an advisory decision ruled that a third officer shouldn’t have been fired. Ultimately, the city manager makes the final call.

The department remains the subject of a federal grand jury investigation.


Follow Alene Tchekmedyian on Google+ and on Twitter: @atchek.


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