Home News Details of retaliation emerge in whistleblower lawsuit by deputies against their superiors

Details of retaliation emerge in whistleblower lawsuit by deputies against their superiors

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A California sheriff’s deputy testified against the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s office yesterday, claiming that he was removed from his prestigious motorcycle assignment due to his failure to meet his supervisor’s illegal ticket quota and his citing of several city and elected officials.

“Quotas are illegal. Period,” Deputy Brian Moler said in San Bernardino Superior Court on day one of the whistleblower-retaliation trial, one which he and two others have filed against the county.

According to The Press-Enterprise, Moler enjoyed his job on the motorcycle-based traffic unit and feels that he was wrongly released from his position.

“The department tells you to do what’s right. I did that. And I was punished for it,” Moler said. “There’s so much distrust in law enforcement. We have to stand up for what’s right, no matter what the cost.”

Deputy Moler, Deputy Jeff Wetmore and retired Sgt. Tim Jordan are all complaining that the orders issued by Captain Sam Lucia and Lieutenant Jon Billings resulted in them being transferred, with Jordan retiring entirely on the grounds of “hostile work environment.”

Paloma P. Peracchio, who is representing the county, told jurors that many deputies are transferred each year to expose deputies to more assignments, and that the “200 citations a month” number issued by Billings was more of a “guideline” than a “quota.”

“The truth is that the department’s actions had nothing to do with them. They were not singled out,” Peracchio told jurors. “The fact that the these three disagreed with decisions does not make it retaliation.”

Moler, who tried to be impartial to all, issued tickets to deputies and government officials alike, often being pressured by the aforementioned offenders with retaliation. When Lucia told him not to ticket deputies over fear of a “station war,” Moler refused the order.

Moler’s lawyer showed three years of the deputy’s annual performance reviews, which showed that he exceeded expectations. However, the year following his refusal to obey and meet “quotas”, his performance review was deemed mediocre, which the deputy feels  was an act of retaliation.

Interestingly, Judge Bryan F. Foster suspended testimony until 10AM on Monday, just as the cross-examination of Moler began.

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