Fullerton’s Veritable Serpico Problem

Serpico

Fullerton, like most departments, has a problem reminiscent of Serpico and this problem is years in the making. This problem is part of the story of the sordid “Culture of Corruption” that was documented after the Kelly Thomas beating. This veritable Serpico problem is a cancer within the system where once in uniform even good people turn a blind eye to corruption and stand idle as their unions and water carriers work to stomp on both people working towards and laws aimed at transparency.

For those unfamiliar with Frank Serpico he was an officer in the NYPD who stood up against widespread corruption and suffered for this crime against the Blue Wall of Silence. When he was shot in the face in the line of duty his fellow officers went so far as refusing to call for help.

This reverse Serpico problem is the common issue of Officers refusing to speak out, refusing to stand up and refusing to be good ethical humans for fear of reprisals from their brothers and sisters in blue.

Today I want to tell a story that should have been told some time ago – the tale of how ethics can get you fired at Fullerton PD.

I’d like to tell you about one Corporal Paul Irish.

You see, Corporal Irish was fired for dishonesty. A year or so ago I spoke to Paul and I was given copies of the files related to his termination. Honestly I didn’t know what to do with what he gave me and I sort of let it sit waiting for the time to really dig into it. Life, kids, you know the drill. That box sat in my garage patiently waiting for me to have time. Skip ahead and, well, the city cost me my job recently and I find myself with more time on my hands. So I got to reading.

To sum up hundreds of pages of paperwork — what Corporal Irish DID was, allegedly, tell his supervisors he was giving a talk on seat belt safety when he actually gave a talk on ethics. When they hammered him for his dishonesty on what his talk was about they ran a full investigation into the issue which ultimately led to his termination for more alleged dishonesty.

The transcript of the talk is [HERE] and the actual audio as recorded by Corporal Irish is here;

According to the information I have seen, these are the charges for which Corporal Irish was fired:

PSB #2014-72​IA Investigation
Corporal Paul Irish
Potential Policy Violations:
​340.3.5 (g) – within policy
​340.3.5 (h)
​340.3.5 (i)
​340.3.5 (l)
​340.3.5 (n)
​340.3.5 (z)
Recommendation to Staff: Not within policy – Termination Approved

FPD Manual Conduct

That’s a bunch of jargon so I’ll allow the Fullerton Police Department’s Policy Manual chapter on Conduct explain all that legal speak:

(h)Knowingly making false, misleading or malicious statements that are reasonably calculated to harm or destroy the reputation, authority or official standing of the Department or members thereof.

(i)The falsification of any work-related records, the making of misleading entries or statements with the intent to deceive, or the willful and unauthorized destruction and/or mutilation of any department record, book, paper or document.

(l)Any knowing or negligent violation of the provisions of the department manual, operating procedures or other written directive of an authorized supervisor. Employees shall familiarize themselves with and be responsible for compliance with each of the above and the Department shall make each available to the employees.

(n)Criminal, dishonest, infamous or disgraceful conduct adversely affecting the employee/employer relationship, whether on or off duty.

(z)Any other on-duty or off-duty conduct which any employee knows or reasonably should know is unbecoming a member of the Department or which is contrary to good order, efficiency or morale, or which tends to reflect unfavorably upon the Department or its members.

Remember, this all stems from Corporal Irish giving a talk on ethics that his supervisors didn’t approve of him giving and being mad at being “lied to” about said briefing.

Here’s the pertinent part of the Hearing Officers Report:

Irish Allegations

This should be put into some context with current events in order to explain the aforementioned Serpico problem. When some cops are fired for seemingly trivial issues while others are given a pass for egregious conduct it sets bad examples. It tells Officers who to follow, which lies are okay and where things stand in regards to the Blue Wall of Silence. This is how a cancer grows in a department. A blind and subservient government is how it remains untreated and metastasizes.

This year, thanks to this blog, we learned that Fullerton PD and Fullerton City Hall worked to enter into an agreement in order to shield Lieutenant Kathryn Hamel from the disclosure of her crimes. The city was willing to stop investigations in order to protect her, the wife of Irvine Police Chief Mike Hamel, from any sustained findings of dishonesty which would have made her crimes public records under the CA law known as SB1421.

Currently there is an also an officer, Jeff Corbett, being charged with a felony for falsifying his reports as related to the drinking and driving of former Fullerton City Manager Joe Felz in November 2016. That Sergeant was only terminated after a friend of this blog filed a citizen complaint which triggered an investigation which led to a sustained finding of dishonesty. Only AFTER that investigation was concluded in September of 2017 did FPD open their own investigation and terminate Corbett.

These are current issues at the Fullerton Police Department as ignored by our current City Council, City Hall and police brass.

The hearings over Irish’s termination went through 2016 and well into 2017 while Sergeant Corbett was being given a pass for clearly violating department policy during the Felz incident. This is at best an inconsistent application of policy and a strong indicator of favoritism in the department – ergo, cancer.

If you think I’m being hyperbolic about comparing Paul Irish to Frank Serpico in premise, in the notion that the Department will crush one of their own to cover their corruption or incompetence – remember that I’m being sued, along with David Curlee and this blog, for allegedly clicking links and posting stories that showed police misconduct. Stories that showed the Kathryn Hamel deal. A story about a pervert cop at Fullerton High School that FPD and City Hall wanted kept secret. The city has never disputed those stories, or others – they’ve just demanded we remove the truth from this site while defaming us as thieves and hackers.

Your tax dollars are being used to punish us not because we allegedly clicked links and thus broke a federal law in the process. We’re being sued because we, yet again, embarrassed Fullerton PD by pointing out corruption and malfeasance and my records requests, if fulfilled as required by law, would embarrass them further. They’re using your money and the courts to intimidate and attempt to silence us because we again stepped out of line. We got in the way of the Blue Wall of Silence and both those in uniform and those in charge at City Hall are too self-interested and too cowardly to stand up for what is right. Too worried about their pensions, campaign dollars and cronyism to be ethical. They preach integrity and practice treachery.

Sadly the tale of Paul Irish is just another in a long line of such stories. A story of the government using it’s weight to silence dissent. A story about government arrogance crushing a voice even when it comes in the form of an officer talking about the things the Police Department hypocritically displays on their own walls. Ethics used during times of convenience are no ethics at all.

Bad Cop Bad Cops Behind Closed Doors Chronic Failure Corruption Fullerton City Council Joe Felz's Wild Ride The Culture of Corruption Transparency

25 thoughts on “Fullerton’s Veritable Serpico Problem

  1. Preach it, brother.

    There’s often a cost for doing the right thing as you and Mr. Curlee have found out, but there are many, many residents of Fullerton that really appreciate your sacrifices for truth. Just remember that the people who get on this blog to bad mouth the writers rarely have anything objective to say. Instead of refuting the facts in your posts, they usually say that you don’t know what you’re talking about, you aren’t qualified to make the conclusions or analyses that you do, etc. They simply attack you personally. In essence, they don’t like the curtain pulled back on what’s really happening in the city but don’t know what else to do but attack the FFFF. and the blog’s writers.

    Keep it up.

    1. You mentioned above the supposed rules set by FPD. You also brought up Hamel once again. It appears as though some people get to cut out the bad in their record and retire on a huge pension nice job Hamel – once again if not for this blog nothing will surface- https://www.fullertonsfuture.org/2019/fullerton-police-cut-a-deal-to-bypass-the-law
      Question, why did she get this deal? How is it some can move forward without any penalty and continue on as nothing happened?

      1. From what we have gathered Officer Hamel had at least two internal affairs investigations into her actions. It is alleged that one of them was for giving false statements.

        These internal investigations were dropped as a condition of this settlement specifically to avoid disclosure under the law known as SB1421.

        To quote the agreement (bold emphasis added, caps lock in original):

        “The City will revise its Notice of Intent to Discipline Hamel to remove allegations relating to dishonesty, deceit, untruthfulness, false or misleading statements, ethics or maliciousness. The Interim Police Chief will place a notice in the file indicating that, pursuant to settlement, all charges against Hamel, including charges relating to dishonesty, deceit, untruthfulness, false or misleading statements, ethics or maliciousness were never resolved or proven because there was no Skelly hearing or opportunity for appeal and, accordingly, are not sustained. The IA investigation, and related materials including the revised Notice of Intent to Discipline, will be sealed and maintained in the Human Resources Department, and only in the Human Resources Department, with a notice reading: “THIS IS A SEALED FILE AND SHOULD NOT BE DISCLOSED OR OTHERWISE PRODUCED WITHOUT WRITTEN PERMISSION FROM THE CITY MANAGER, AND ONLY AFTER RECEIVING A WRITTEN OPINION FROM THE CITY ATTORNEY THAT SAID RELEASE OF INFORMATION IS REQUIRED UNDER APPLICABLE LAW.”

  2. 1-LIED to a supervisor over the phone about the content of his pre-planned briefing.

    2- LIED to another supervisor when directly asked about the content of his briefing minutes prior to the briefing.

    3- LIED that his content of the briefing wasn’t planned when in fact he shared his pre-planned briefing with other officers prior to the briefing.

    4- Surreptitiously Recorded others without their consent (violation of 632 PC-misdemeanor)

    Please don’t tarnish the reputation of Serpico with the disgrace of this officer!

    Josh, I am a fan of your blog but please put this file back in your garage and leave it there!

      1. Goodrich lied to the public about officers getting broken bones during the Thomas killing. No retraction was ever even demanded by the department as far as I know.

        So honesty and outrage over lying seems pretty selective in the halls of FPD.

        1. That’s the point.

          The FPD has selective outrage when it comes to punishing members of its own staff when it comes to honesty. One has to ask why there was an official administrative review in the first place. It’s an ethics talk. This is clearly about the content of the lesson, retaliation like FPD does best, and not a simple yes or no regarding truth telling. Motive matters.

          That’s the point. Well made by the author, too.

        2. Sellers LIED to the public and got medical retirement because he couldn’t handle the dumpster fire he helped create. Why wasn’t he fired? The FPD is SELECTIVE about who it punishes and who it rewards — that is the point. It rewards those who are willing to lie, cheat and steal in an effort to cover up misdoing and protect the department. It punishes those who try to shine light on the misdeeds of the department. FPD is corrupt and ineffective. A decent city council would replace the entire department by outsourcing to OCSD or another neighboring PD.

          1. The problem lies in getting a “decent” (read honest) city council that would fire the current top brass of the police department and start fresh; then the “decent” city council would hire a chief with integrity whose job longevity depends on cleaning up the department through discipline, firings and culture change. That’s what a “decent” council should and would do.

          2. We’ve been told that Kathryn Hamel was allowed to resign from FPD.

            In exchange for her not suing for worker’s compensation the city dropped not one but two internal affairs investigations into her conduct.

            Did her husband being the Irvine Police Chief play a role in this deal? Did FPD know that she was guilty and cut a deal anyways?

            Time will tell as more details are uncovered.

            *Update. This post originally stated she was allowed to retire, she was allowed to resign. It is quite an interesting read. We aren’t the only outlet to receive this so we’re curious to see what coverage, if any, this receives in the press.

            From what we have gathered Officer Hamel had at least two internal affairs investigations into her actions. It is alleged that one of them was for giving false statements.

            These internal investigations were dropped as a condition of this settlement specifically to avoid disclosure under the law known as SB1421.

            To quote the agreement (bold emphasis added, caps lock in original):

            “The City will revise its Notice of Intent to Discipline Hamel to remove allegations relating to dishonesty, deceit, untruthfulness, false or misleading statements, ethics or maliciousness. The Interim Police Chief will place a notice in the file indicating that, pursuant to settlement, all charges against Hamel, including charges relating to dishonesty, deceit, untruthfulness, false or misleading statements, ethics or maliciousness were never resolved or proven because there was no Skelly hearing or opportunity for appeal and, accordingly, are not sustained. The IA investigation, and related materials including the revised Notice of Intent to Discipline, will be sealed and maintained in the Human Resources Department, and only in the Human Resources Department, with a notice reading: “THIS IS A SEALED FILE AND SHOULD NOT BE DISCLOSED OR OTHERWISE PRODUCED WITHOUT WRITTEN PERMISSION FROM THE CITY MANAGER, AND ONLY AFTER RECEIVING A WRITTEN OPINION FROM THE CITY ATTORNEY THAT SAID RELEASE OF INFORMATION IS REQUIRED UNDER APPLICABLE LAW.”

            “The City asserts, based on a “not sustained” finding of all charges, that any and all records relating to this investigation are not subject to release under Senate Bill 1421. The City further asserts that any challenge to this legal opinion by any entity will be defended by the City – in court if necessary – to the fullest extent.”

            Since Jerry Brown made it possible to find out when police lie, sexually assault people and cause great bodily harm through SB1421 the police and local governments in CA have been scrambling to find ways to block it’s implementation or ways to work around it and here we see one of those ways.

            We citizens should fully expect that this is going to be the new normal.

            Lacking consequences the police will continue closing cases and ending investigations to protect their own. Watch as the councils and mayors of our city and state do nothing for fear of union funded reprisals at the ballot box.

            This is what happens when there is no objective civilian oversight and departments are allowed to handle their own investigations into the wrongdoing of their friends, family and co-workers.

            Full settlement agreement can be given in secret and sealed,Joshua go get this exposed!

    1. pretext set up to get rid of a good officer . But yet they protect actual convicted criminals WREN!!! Did you listen to what he actually said?? Nothing wrong there!!

  3. The FPD is fundamentally grounded in deception, obfuscation, cover-up, lies, theft, pickpocketry, sexual assault, battery, falsified reports, incompetence, more lies, perjury and more sexual assault.

    But Heaven forfend – no ethics training!

  4. Listen to what he said. Not only was he talking about ethics, which is a good thing, a very good thing. He was also promoting a Citizen oversight commission!

    I’m sure it was Dan Hughes that fired him. Hughes, Goodrich, Kaufman, etc., all the bad apples got together to rid of a good man.

    This is bullshit!

    He did a great job while he was on the Fullerton police department, and they fired him for being a good Officer.

    The FPD is corrupt from the bottom to the top..

    1. Dan Hughes was/is a corrupt piece of garbage. I can’t believe that Disney put him in charge of children’s’ safety after he ran the murder syndicate known as FPD. What a terrible corporation.

  5. “I mean, we’re not killing out partners. Right? But are we getting harassed? Are we threatened? Are we Sometimes labeled as whiners and malcontents because we speak up?” — Paul Irish

    Malcontents, exactly what Commissioner Gretchen Cox calls you.
    Harassment and threats, exactly what Deputy City Attorney Kim Barlow does to you.

    This is no different than FFFF’s current lawsuit. Retaliation, retaliation, retaliation, because you dared to speak up.

  6. I read the court Brief.
    “All that Jambo, Mambo for a Fucken “Seat Belt!.” Aaaaay Liehtenant Cleggett, No Mames! One more and I will send you to take some fucken class on how to find violations of law. Rhonda’s plan.
    “Let’s find an excuse to fired the officer that I don’t like”.

  7. Officer Irish, was recording his own speech, no a conversation with a specific person. This fact does not constitute a crime, because there is no participation back and forth with a specific person.
    -The intent of officer Irish was clearly not to record a specific person, but to recorded himself teaching a class.
    -Officer Irish, did not record a valuable private instruction, or lesson, but his own words. This fact doesn’t constitute recording a private instruction or private lesson. officer Irish was mostly sharing his personal experiences, Dios Mio, what a Crime! Sharing his personal experience is a crime? Geeez, Rhonda, you are very, Pendeja!
    Officer Irish termination seems clear it was because this guy, Gharah, seems to have a personal issue with officer Irish. then he contacted Rhonda, to so his durty job.

  8. I have a better idea, Rhonda, after reading the facts, I am going to change your name, from Rhonda Cleggett,
    to RHONDA LA PENDEJA.

  9. I was about to apply to be a Police officer, but after I read this article, naaah. I don’t want too.
    However , if anyone want to become a FPD Officer, keep in mind that :

    1. If you teach a class, you can not improvise the subject of the class, or it will cost you your Police career, of 20 years.
    A) Asking the student what would be the subject of the class, if majority of students vote or agree to talk about a more complicated subject, it can be used against you as a teacher.
    2. Student has the right to record the class, with a Dr. note or for other protect rights, but the teacher or instructor has not right to record his own material speech class.
    In other words, privacy rights only apply to students! No to a professor , teacher or instructor. Sorry dudes, good thing , I am student, since this law only benefits us .

    Any of this 2 facts can terminate your Police career if 20 years, knowing all these facts,
    Does anyone want to apply to be a police officer?
    Heck not , forget it,
    What is funny here, who put the finger on Officer Irish, guess who , mostlikly , One of those 7 people that were in his class for seat bealt,
    Of course , Ethics was to complicate to understand for this FPD, anything complicate will confuse the seargents and the big blue bully closed mind individuals there, how sad.

  10. Reading, how FPD leaders handle and created a huge drama for an improvised subject class on Ethics in exchange of a simple seatbelt class, it only prove their poor character, one after another one. How sad!.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.