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Twenty California Police Officers Face Possible Decertification Amid Misconduct Allegations

Sacramento, CA – The California Commission of Peace Officer Standards (POST) has released a list of 20 law enforcement officers across the state who are currently facing possible decertification.

“POST has a duty to report these officers and we’re upholding the law,” POST spokeswoman Meagan Poulos told KTVU on April 3. “This is the start of the process.”

Law enforcement officers named on the list may be cleared by investigations or after an appeal, but those who are not cleared will likely face decertification, which would bar them from working as law enforcement officers anywhere in California.

The POST advisory board is tasked with recommending whether to pull an officer’s certification, KTVU reported.

The nine-member board is comprised of individuals appointed by the legislature, the governor, and by law enforcement groups, according to KXTV.

The board must include one attorney, two members of the public – preferably who have been victims of police brutality or who are surviving family members of a victim who was killed by police – two members of the public with prior experience working for an academic institution or nonprofit, one current or former law enforcement officer with management experience, and one current or former law enforcement officer with command experience, according to the news outlet.

California is the latest state in the nation to have such a process for decertifying officers.

The process went into effect on Jan. 1, KTVU reported.

Poulos said the POST commissioners have stacks of cases they are still investigating, many of which date back as far as three years ago.

The evolving decertification list is made public in the interest of transparency.

“Police hid behind the law that existed,” attorney Stuart Hanlon told KTVU. “Now, now the public has a right to see who the cops are who do bad things. The understanding is that most cops do good things, but the bad ones shouldn’t be police officers anymore. And we get to see now. So, it’s a transparency that it’s a long time coming.”

Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office Chief of Inspectors Arnold Threets said that the names on the potential decertification list thus far are generally “low-hanging fruit” with obvious and egregious misconduct issues, KTVU reported.

Threets said he suspects many of the other backlogged cases won’t be easy investigations.

“[There is a] whole other category of officers (involved in misconduct) who are harder to ferret out,” he told KTVU.

Among those currently on the list are Joseph Huffaker and Brendon “Jacy” Tatum, two former Rohnert Park police officers who allegedly posed as federal agents during traffic stops in order to illegally seize cash and marijuana, KTVU reported.

Two San Francisco police officers, Kevin Sien and Kevin Lyons, have been accused of destroying evidence after they responded to a hotel last year for a report that security had found methamphetamine and stolen credit cards.

Lyons allegedly flushed the suspected drugs down the toilet instead of booking them into evidence.

Shawn Patrick Nimau, a former Redwood City police officer, was placed on the list after he pleaded guilty to possessing child pornography and was sentenced to two years in prison.

Former Kern County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Brandon Michael Lawrence landed on the list after he was convicted of having sex with jail inmates, KTVU reported.

Lawrence was sentenced to six months in jail in December of 2021 for that offense.

Nicholas Bloed, a Stockton police officer, was arrested on dozens of sexual assault charges in November of 2022.

Other officers who were placed on the list due to criminal charges are Harjinder Singh Heer, who worked for the Livingston Police Department, and J. Deshawn Torrence, who worked for the Sanger Police Department, KTVU reported.

In San Bernardino, Officer Fidel Ocampo Rodarte was arrested for allegedly shooting his duty weapon into the air outside a tavern, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Written by
Holly Matkin

Holly is a former probation and parole officer who is married to a sheriff’s deputy. She is a regular contributor to Signature Montana magazine, and has written feature articles for Distinctly Montana magazine.

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Written by Holly Matkin


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