Tag Archives: Chief David Hendricks

Is Fullerton PD Illegally Destroying Records?

destroy-evidence

Last September it was revealed that the Long Beach Police Department was using a phone app, known as TigerText, to send encrypted and self-deleting messages. From the article:

Two of the officers claimed that they were also instructed by their superiors to use the app to “have conversations with other officers that wouldn’t be discoverable”.

The City of Long Beach paid for an independent review which found no wrongdoing, owing that the city and investigator claimed that the messages were “transitory” and thus exempt from disclosure.

This transitory argument should sound familiar as it’s the same argument which was made by the Orange County Supervisors, including now District Attorney Todd Spitzer, when they voted to destroy “transitory” records including texts and emails.

So what does this have to do with Fullerton PD?

TigerText was being used in Long Beach when our now former Chief David Hendricks was Deputy Chief in that department. The idea that he wasn’t using or didn’t know that TigerText was being utilized for years under his command is laughable.

Knowing the above, one of our friends put in a records request asking if the city of Fullerton was using Tigertext or a similar app known as Signal and what the policies and procedures were around such software.

From Chief Dunn himself:

TigetText

“Hi ma’am…this question was floating around here last week…I am not familiar with any use of either of those messaging apps…I am aware that we use other apps that may do the same thing however…”

According to our Current Police Chief the city does in fact use similar software, in what capacity it is unknown, and they have no policies or procedures in place over how to use such software or to help mitigate abuses.

Now let us skip ahead to this last week when a Superior Court Judge ruled against the OC Supervisors in the ongoing case over their transitory records policy. The County’s argument fell apart because the word “transitory” exists nowhere in disclosure laws.

With that ruling it certainly looks like the OC Supervisors broke the law to hide as much as possible which is pretty much par for the course from that legislative body.

Let’s circle back to Fullerton with that ruling established thus far.

Is Fullerton PD is still using a similar app to TigerText, as Chief Dunn admitted, and are they also using it to destroy “transitory” records illegally?

Will the City Manager or City Council even bother to investigate this issue and further will they follow the law if PD is found to be in violation? Don’t count on it.

Fullerton Police Challenge coins

Fullerton Brass Thought Money Was No Object

FPD Badge

Back in April of 2017 we wrote a piece about FPD giving taxpayers the middle finger regarding spending cuts within the department. During budget meetings the Police Department offered the PR outfit “Behind the Badge” up for tribute in their paltry cost savings plan and that was pretty much it.

For context, during this time it was mentioned that the police department burned through over $1Million a year in overtime (OT) pay.

FPD OT

What most people didn’t know, hilariously, is that the Chief of Police himself didn’t know how that money was being spent (emphasis added):

Hendricks OT

“I can be made aware I am spending a lot of money in overtime, but a detailed accounting of that overtime is not available.  We have codes for court overtime but, to my understanding, that is all.  If the OT was spent to maintain minimum staffing I do not know.  If the OT was due to a community event I do not know.  If the OT was due to extended shift overtime I do not know.

That is from the former Chief of Police himself. If Overtime was due to a community event, minimum staffing or extended shift OT he didn’t know.

Let that sink in for a minute.

The Chief of Police didn’t (and likely doesn’t still) know how OT was being used in his own department. And this went on for literal years before Hendricks got here.

Chief_Hendricks_Headshot_Photo-1[1]

This is where I give former Chief Hendricks some praise for at least in one aspect attempting to right a ship that the council, city manager and former Chiefs had let float adrift. Let us not forget that the officers who took the OT never brought it up or questioned it as they were perfectly happy to ride the OT gravy-train into Fullerton’s fiscal ruin.

But wait, there’s MORE! Not only was the Chief unaware of how OT was being spent, we were also burning through OT as standard operating procedure (emphasis added):

Hendricks No Object

“In the last six years following KT’s death, ALL community events and requests were taken on and a large number of them were done on overtime.  This was the case up until I got here.  I was unaware the marching orders were “do everything and money is no object” until literally last week.  In the prior months, I had used personal discernment to tell Community Services to say “no” to some things and, instead to offer an on duty Watch Commander or  a beat cop or sergeant to simply swing by and say hi.  No exaggeration, if someone asked for a PD display of canines, SWAT and all their equipment etc., we gave it to them.  Most of those things happened on the weekend and many of the individuals responding did so on overtime.”

The mentality was “do everything and money is no object” for 6 years until Hendricks put a stop to it. This was likely a Dan Hughes and/or Joe Felz thing that just sat uncontested by our lazy, incompetent and/or corrupt city staff and council because the idea that the council didn’t know about it is laughable. The only way they didn’t know about this is because willful ignorance is bliss in council chambers and feigning ignorance works too well with low information voters.

If nothing else this shows a complete lack of budgetary seriousness for at least six years from our City Councils, City Managers, HR Director and Police Chiefs in that time. You can’t seriously talk about balancing a budget and being conscious of costs when you have standing orders that “money is no object” and your Chief of Police is ignorant of how the money in a $1Million+ budgetary item is being allocated and spent.

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Fight a Paramedic, Win a $100K

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Remember when Chief Hendricks left Fullerton after his run-in with some paramedics at a Lady Antebellum concert?

It looks like we hired a PR firm to polish the turd of a Press Release and even the consultant admitted that Domer slobbering all over Hendricks looked bad since we were paying Hendricks to leave (emphasis added):

Hendricks Draft Notes

“We’ve had a chance to look at the draft releases and to read your summary of where things stand. We are concerned that if there is an quotation in the release from you – and the settlement with the Chief is made public later – this could come back to hurt you and diminish your credibility, since people will wonder why you spoke so effusively about a person who was effectively paid to leave.”

But how much did we pay him? Over $100K, that’s how much.

Hendricks Dollars Value

Most people who get charged with battery get a perp walk and not a golden handshake. It must be nice to live on that side of the government. This, for obvious reasons, was left out of the press release.

Chief Hamel and Wife

A Hamel Timeline and Conflict Problem

Chief Hamel and Wife

Was Kathryn Hamel’s Settlement Agreement, to bypass disclosure laws, the byproduct or possibly even the direct result of inter-departmental nepotism and favoritism?

The following email shows that the Internal Affairs investigation into Lieutenant Katheryn Hamel started on or around August 02, 2018.

This smells of a conflict considering the date of that fateful Lady Antebellum concert (August 24, 2018) in which Chief Hendricks, Hamel’s then-boss, allegedly committed battery against an EMT.

Hamel-IA-August2018

This means that Katheryn Hamel was actively being investigated by Fullerton PD’s Internal Affairs division while her husband, Irvine Police Chief Mike Hamel, was overseeing the investigation of Katheryn Hamel’s supervisor Captain Oliveras and boss Chief Hendricks.

This information forces us to at least consider a conflict of interest between departments which was kept from the public both at the time and since. We knew of the Hamel connection between departments but not that Fullerton’s Hamel was under investigation at the direction of then-Chief Hendricks.

Instead of sending the Chief Hendricks battery case immediately to an outside agency, Irvine PD appears to have been allowed to complete their investigation.

Wait Wut

Will our own City Council publicly ask the new Chief of Police, Robert Dunn, who was in charge during this fiasco, why this was allowed to play out in such a suspicious way? Don’t count on it. After all, they hired Dunn as permanent Chief last night and tried to do it on the Consent Calendar with zero public input.

Former Fullerton Police Chief – Guilty

Former Fullerton Police Chief David Hendricks and former Fullerton Police Captain Tom Oliveras have both plead guilty to charges related to their scuffle last year.

According to the LA Times:

“A former Fullerton police chief and one of his captains plead guilty Monday to misdemeanor charges for starting a fight with paramedics at a Lady Antebellum concert last summer in Irvine while off-duty, an incident which forced the chief to resign.”

Also from the LAT:

“Neither will serve jail time. As part of their plea deals with prosecutors, Hendricks had two counts of battery on emergency workers and one count of resisting arrest dismissed, while Oliveras had one count each of battery on a peace officer and resisting arrest dismissed.”

This is the same charge that Deputy DA Mike Flory was found guilty of a few days ago. Sure must be nice to work for the state – you can punch, choke and hit public safety members (or just hit kids allegedly in Flory’s case) and get slapped on the wrist with “disturbing the peace”. You’d think with all of the pay, benefits and praise we give these people in their professions the least taxpayers could expect is some actual discipline when they screw up but nope. We’re lucky to ever even learn the details when “public safety” members cause harm – just ask Fullerton City Hall as they continue to block every request regarding legally required transparency.

Just another day with Fullerton’s finest.

Hendricks Already Up for a New Gig

Former Fullerton Police Chief David Hendricks is already up for a new gig at Mt. Sac. He’s apparently a finalist for the job of Mt. Sac Police Chief.

Hendricks-Mt-Sac

You have to love that description and what it omits.

“A long history at the Long Beach Police Department.”

And a short history in Fullerton. That ended in disgrace.

Lest we forget, Hendricks is being charged with Battery on EMTs and resisting and obstructing an officer. No wonder that was omitted. Continue reading

Hendricks & Oliveras Charged with Battery

It’s been a busy day at the OCDA’s office re: Fullerton. First charges against Doug Chaffee’s wife Paulette and now our former Chief and a Captain have been charged with battery for their shenanigans at a Lady Antebellum concert.

Hendricks-Oliveras-Charges

Hot Off of the Presses:

Case # 18HM15615

December 7, 2018

OFF-DUTY FULLERTON POLICE CHIEF AND CAPTAIN CHARGED WITH BATTERY ON EMERGENCY MEDICAL TECHNICIANS AT CONCERT IN IRVINE

SANTA ANA, Calif. – The former Fullerton Police Department (FPD) chief and a captain were charged with battery on emergency medical technicians at a concert in Irvine.

Defendant Charges Maximum Sentence Court Date
David James Hendricks, 47

 

Charged today with the following misdemeanor counts:

  • (2) Battery on emergency medical technician (EMT)
  • Resisting and obstructing officer
Three years in county jail Arraignment

Jan. 9, 2019, 8:30 a.m.

Department H-8, Harbor Justice Center, Newport Beach

Thomas William Oliveras Jr., 50
  • Battery on emergency medical technician
  • Resisting and obstructing officer
Two years in county jail Arraignment

Jan. 9, 2019, 8:30 a.m.

Department H-8, Harbor Justice Center, Newport Beach

Circumstances of the Case

  • On Aug. 24, 2018, Hendricks and Oliveras were off-duty and attended a concert in Irvine with their spouses. Hendricks’ wife needed medical attention and EMTs responded to assess her condition.
  • Hendricks is accused of pushing two EMTs as they attempted to provide treatment and Oliveras is accused of putting one victim in a headlock.
  • The Irvine Police Department responded to the scene and the defendants are accused of obstructing and delaying the investigation.

Prosecutor: Senior Deputy District Attorney Jeffrey Moore, Special Prosecutions Unit

We’ll let you know what happens on 09 January 2019.

youknownothing

City Refuses to Learn from Mistakes

On Tuesday our City Manager, Ken Domer, wants Council to award Acting Chief Dunn with an Interim Chief gig. With this new gig comes a new contract as the new council decides who to put in the role “permanently”. Like all things in government there are already some serious questions in how this is playing out legally. Let’s see if you can spot an obvious problem in the contract.

Ok, I’ll give you a hint (emphasis added):

SECTION 12 – CONFIDENTIALITY AND NON-DISPARAGEMENT
Except as otherwise required by law, in the event the City terminates Employee with or without cause, City and Employee agree that no member of the City Council, the city management staff, nor Employee shall make any written, oral, or electronic statement to any member of the public, the press, or any City employee concerning Employee’s termination except in the form of a joint press release or statement, which is mutually agreeable to City and Employee. The joint press release or statement shall not contain any text or information that is disparaging to either City or Employee. Either City or Employee may verbally repeat the substance of the joint press release or statement in response to any inquiry.

 

What’s the problem, you ask?

Your right to know how the most senior members of Fullerton’s government behave is being voted away, again, by our City Council on Tuesday. Watch it pass 5-0. Bureaucracy Commandment #3: Protect thyself and thy brethren. I’m actually a little surprised this contract wasn’t buried in the Consent Calendar in the hopes nobody would even notice.

Take a look at Fullerton’s track record. Our previous city manager and 2 of our last 3 Police Chiefs resigned in disgrace — City Manager Felz hit a tree allegedly driving drunk, Chief Sellers went on medical leave in the midst of the Kelly Thomas scandal and most recently Chief Hendricks left after allegedly battering an EMT.

With contracts like this one, you have no right to know about any of it.  That of course means you have no right to pressure City Council to do anything about it, either.

See the sickness?

When Hendricks resigned the city lied by omission and gave you nothing but a puff piece about how awesome he was for Fullerton. When I called the City’s Public Information Officer I was told, laughably, that Hendrick’s alleged battery for which he went on admin leave was unrelated to his resignation.

This contract is written so poorly that Dunn could shoot somebody in the face and BY CONTRACT nobody from the council or city could tell the public, media or other city employees why he was fired.

More to come on this outstanding contract at a later date.  In the mean time, remember, your right to know stops where an employee’s paycheck begins.

Paulette Chaffee Under DA Investigation

Good luck getting any followup before the election as Tony Rackauckas is more worried about Todd Spitzer than doing his job.

Continue reading