BPD Chief Chris Carter responds to ‘smear campaign’

Bishop Police Department Chief Chris Carter issued a response Monday to the “Letter of No Confidence” signed by seven Bishop police officers.

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First, I’ll begin by asking the media outlets to print or broadcast this entire statement, just as they did with the letter filed by the officers.

Bishop Police Chief Chris Carter

Bishop Police Chief Chris Carter

Secondly, I want to take time to thank all of those people who have called, texted or otherwise offered their support. Especially those who have spoken out in my defense at a time when I was unable to speak or defend myself.

I’m going to address the letter filed by seven members of the Bishop Police Dept on Thursday 17th of Sept. It is my understanding there will be an official investigation, as there well should be, and I welcome it because I know what the truths of these allegations are.

I assure you that while some of what has been said is true, the whole truth is not contained anywhere in their letter.

I have been advised that because some of these allegations might amount to misconduct or even criminal conduct, I’m not obliged to make any statement and should not proceed without legal counsel. While I recognize the validity of this advice, I cannot and will not remain silent on this issue.

I would like the citizens of Bishop and any others who are concerned to take into account a couple of things: one being that I announced my retirement in July. These officers have had two months in the interim to go public with their complaints and concerns, and yet they chose to make these allegations on the day I left on a scheduled vacation and two weeks prior to my official retirement date. This isn’t a coincidence.

Their goal has nothing to do with bettering the Department or exposing corruption. I believe this letter is a smear campaign, plain and simple.

Here are some facts that were conveniently omitted from their letter:

1.This letter was signed by seven people, but authored by a single individual. Each of these individuals may have their own personal axes to grind based on our common history as subordinate and supervisor. This letter is not a correspondence from the Police Officers Association (union). There was not meeting held or vote taken, even though two of the people who signed this letter act as the President and Vice-President of the Union.

2. Five of the officers who signed this letter recently participated in a promotional process for a single Sergeant vacancy. The process was discussed and agreed upon by all eligible applicants, including these five officers. This process included evaluation of their experience, training and accomplishments by persons from outside the Bishop PD. Only one of them scored in the top 3, and ironically, he was one of the people who I recently appointed as an Acting Sergeant.

3. There is a Memorandum of Understanding (contract) between the Police Officers Association and the City of Bishop. This is a public document and copies are available at the PD. The M.O.U. is an agreement between the Officers/Employees and the City.

This document spells out the rights of Management and gives the Chief of Police the authority to oversee operations of the Department, including scheduling. The MOU also outlines a grievance process by which Officers/Employees can express concerns over working conditions, like those outlined in the letter, through the Chain of Command.

This process allows appeal to the City Council, should an aggrieved employee be unable to settle their grievance at a lower level. Two of the signatures on the letter of no confidence also appear on the MOU. In the 5 years I have been Chief of Police, not a single grievance has been filed by anyone whose name and signature appears on the letter.

4. An internal notice of training regarding Range qualifications was sent out on August 22, 2015, to all sworn personnel, scheduling a Range Training for September 23rd. I’m aware we’re out of policy for our training and the issue was being addressed. This is yet another example of omission of facts in order to avoid presenting the whole truth.

I had been contemplating retirement since 2013. In light of the budgetary issues and other concerns facing the Department and the City of Bishop, I was hoping to help see the Department through and leave it in a better condition than when I took over as Chief in 2010.

The most recent discussions regarding contracting services with the Sheriff’s Department furthered my resolve to try and preserve the continued delivery of professional service to the citizens of Bishop by their own Police Department.

Over the past year, the Department became divided from within. Some of that division was caused by events as outlined in the officers’ letter. While Dan Nolan was, and still is, one of my most trusted friends, I can assure you that I handled that incident appropriately and professionally.

An outside investigator was called in to conduct the investigation. The City’s legal counsel was advised and kept appraised throughout the process and the proper discipline was administered.

Unfortunately, trust within the Agency was damaged. I’m likely responsible for some of that damage because I refused to let Dan’s mistake be the last word in an otherwise stellar career and I also refused to turn my back on him as a friend, as some of these officers suggested was an appropriate response. I offer no apologies for being or having a loyal friend.

The City and the Police Officers Association entered contract negotiations in the spring of this year. During that process, our available personnel was at an all time low and our overtime budget had soared as a result of having several officers off due to work related injuries and recovery.

In speaking with representatives of the union, a conversation took place in my office where the union reps informed me that I could not change the schedule from 12 hour shifts to 8 hour shifts. This is where one of the famous quotes in the letter came from.

Unfortunately, the letter misquotes me. I never used the word “redneck” in expressing my disagreement with the union. The word I used was “Rebel”, and I stand by the statement. When the Officers start dictating to me what hours and shifts they will or won’t work, that’s the “tail wagging the dog” and it ain’t happening on my watch.

Over the course of the summer, when we were suffering a severe manpower shortage, several of those who signed this letter were up for their scheduled vacations. While I could have cancelled or shortened any or all of them, I chose instead to put myself in the patrol schedule.

My badge still says “Police” on it and I’m still capable of doing the job. I handled calls, wrote reports and cancelled my own personal plans so they would not have to cancel theirs.

One of the officers who signed this letter jokingly asked me why I wasn’t signing up for any graveyard shifts and to that I replied, “It’s good to be the King.” Guess that makes me a bully.

Other quotes attributed to me are fairly accurate, however out of context they might be.

I have no tolerance for those who still think this is a little league game. Not everybody gets a trophy (or promotion) for just showing up. We keep score here in the majors and I run a performance based system. I do play favorites. My favorites are those people who consistently give 111% and who solve problems and don’t whine about having to do their job.

If you want a regular schedule with predictable hours and demands, K-mart is hiring. If you don’t like this job, there really are 5 doors in the building, pick one and I’ll help you pack. I respect professional attitudes and conduct.

I will offer the opinion that for these officers to address their concerns in this manner is absolutely unprofessional and it might go a long way to explaining why none of them got a trophy. Any claim that officers are afraid of retaliation is nothing but an excuse.

In my tenure as chief, 5 of these officers have not received as much as a counseling memo from me or directed by me. I have occasionally gotten my facts wrong in a letter of commendation here and there.

The fact is that 6 months ago, I determined that the damage done to the trust within the agency was irreparable and that new leadership was likely the best course. I announced my retirement to the Officers at a meeting in early July.

The same meeting where we discussed the promotional process and also that we would be seeking to fill the Lieutenant’s position. I informed the Officers of the reasons for my decision and that I was hopeful that new leadership would improve morale and “right the ship” internally.

At this time, the Association had refused to sign their contract with the City. At the next City Council meeting, I publicly announced my retirement and the Association signed their contract with no changes shortly thereafter.

What I also made clear is that until I’m gone, I’m still here and I’m still the Chief and we will continue to handle business as we’re paid and expected to do. This includes internal promotions, recruitment of personnel and the maintenance of order and discipline within the Department.

There are many other allegations in the letter that will prove to be completely false, especially those that would call into question the integrity or character of Jim Tatum, Joe Pecsi and any other member of the Bishop Police Department.

There is no conspiracy, no misconduct and no excuse for these Officers to attack others in their attempt to tarnish my reputation or my history of service to this Community. They can offer no proof of the validity of their claims but I can offer absolute proof of my innocence and that of others they have attacked.

In closing, I offer the following; I have done nothing illegal, unethical or immoral as your Chief of Police. I continue to serve at the pleasure of the City Council and will continue to do so while my replacement is sought.

Should the Council choose other options, it has been my honor to serve them and this Community for the past 12 years and I assure you that the men and women of the Bishop Police Department are still serving and protecting to the best of their ability.

To the officers who sent this letter, should the Council decide to retain my services as Chief of Police, I will continue to do my job. There is still an obligation that each of you do yours, remain professional in your dealings with the Community and each other and let any investigation run its course.

This will be my only response to the media on this issue. I will let the findings of the investigation serve as my next response.

Chief C. Carter

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42 Comments
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Mr. Perspective, Esq.
Mr. Perspective, Esq.
7 years ago

I am amused at how Mr. Carter and his supporters refer to Mr. Nolan’s decision to send “lewd and obscene” pictures to a female subordinate while on duty as a “mistake.” Black’s Law Dictionary defines a “mistake”, in part, as “Some unintentional act, omission, or error arising from ignorance, surprise,… Read more »

Russ
Russ
7 years ago

Anyone who works for a chain of command organization, and I did so for 47 years, will run head-on into hard nosed, unyielding, dictators who play favoritism. Often the real leaders are upper and mid level subordinates who call the shots while the Chief plays politics with other powerful leaders.… Read more »

John Barton
John Barton
7 years ago
Reply to  Russ

Russ- Just because something is the way it is or traditional doesn’t make it right. Also, because something is legal doesn’t make it ethical. A true judge of integrity is doing the right thing when nobody is looking. Being in the chain of command whether it’s lower, middle or upper… Read more »

attorney rex
attorney rex
7 years ago

Dear City Council I practice law up and down this valley. I charge 300 dollars an hour. Retire Chief Carter tomorrow. Have an outside agency control all promotions. Take away Pam’s and Rhonda’s keyboard!!!!! Take away Nolan’s cell phone or any camera!! Find out what’s wrong with Gladding ASAP!!!! That… Read more »

attorney ryan
attorney ryan
7 years ago
Reply to  attorney rex

If you charge $300 hour for practicing law up and down this valley you are part of the problem.

Law Prof
Law Prof
6 years ago
Reply to  attorney rex

Unauthorized practice of law

A Citizen
A Citizen
7 years ago

I don’t think of it as a “smear campaign” as much as the truth bubbling up from the morass of stink that has been Bishop since I was a child. Chief, you keep holding on tight with the tips of your finger and nails until the skin is worn off.… Read more »

DAVID K
DAVID K
7 years ago

When Roy Chacon sat on the Bishop City Councel years ago, he completed a feasibility study with the idea of contracting services with the sheriffs dept. The sheriff said it could easily be done. I don’t remember the actual cost savings it would have provided to the City if Bishop,… Read more »

Charles O. Jones
Charles O. Jones
7 years ago
Reply to  DAVID K

Regionalization of services makes sense and it can often be a significant cost savings. (However it does make it more difficult to be the king when your kingdom no longer exists) It’s that kingdom mentality that will stand in the way of regionalization. Local managers and politicians are often very… Read more »

High Water
High Water
7 years ago

@charlesO.jones – Power Corrupts, And Absolute Power, Corrupts Absolutely

Jack smith
Jack smith
7 years ago

Not, “redneck”, “rebel” yet the next sentence says “it “ain’t” happening on my watch.” Doesn’t sound like “rebel” to this old timer. Hard to believe anything in this response.

Nomo
Nomo
7 years ago

Just retire and do all the tax payers a favor.

You can pick up your check next Friday.

Snowjay
Snowjay
7 years ago

One question for your resignation, Chief. If you are not dirty, why didn’t you recuse yourself from the investigstion/decision into you friend/business partner/ suboridnate? We’re you afraid he was going t be fired like he should of?

Steve
Steve
7 years ago

Does anybody remember the last time this happened? Every officer except a new hire on probation signed a similar letter. The city council and the grand jury investigated. Nothing ever happened.

redneck
redneck
7 years ago
Reply to  Steve

Steve, I remember!! My understanding is that because the investigation was not done properly it just got thrown out. The chief at the time was not found to be innocent but nothing happened due to some technicality. I hope this gets handled much differently !!

Christine Stevens
Christine Stevens
7 years ago

From a citizen looking in from the outside and reading the Officer’s letter, the response from the Chief, and the responses from my fellow citizens, I have seen the same thing in the past. This is not a smear campaign, it is officers standing up for their rights and the… Read more »

Curley
Curley
7 years ago

Concerned Citizen, you are spot on! Having spent 29 years as a LEO, 7 of those years were at a small town department (AKA-KIngdom). I had to witness the same corruption as these officers. The truth will come out as to the fraud and cronyism that is apparent with this… Read more »

Trouble
Trouble
7 years ago

I think both sides are wrong in going public with this stuff. This stuff happens at every business and company in this Valley. Talk about every body throwing everyone under the bus.

Vons shopper
Vons shopper
7 years ago

This is a mess. The only honorable thing to do resign immediately and not accept the interim chief position.

bishoplocal
bishoplocal
7 years ago

Well put Concerned Citizen! 100 % agree with you!

Get Smart
Get Smart
7 years ago

Concerned Citizen, Your analysis is excellent! There is really not much more that needs to be said. It shows that Chief Carter is actually pathological about what he does and says. A real leader would have excluded himself from any decisions regarding his friend because it would be impossible for… Read more »

High Water
High Water
7 years ago

Remember when the city hired the ‘Colonel’ but backed out and hired Tatum instead. It cost the city I believe 100k for that. The city sure would have benefited from having the Colonel here now to run the city. As someone posted the other day. The “Good ole boy” system… Read more »

Melody
Melody
7 years ago

In the Chiefs letter he states that there is a divide within the department and by having new leadership he hoped to improve morale. In the officers letter, it does not say much about the promotion of sergeant. Except that the 7 officers had serious concerns with his honesty and… Read more »

Trouble
Trouble
7 years ago

I think they all need a debriefing.

Concerned Citizen
Concerned Citizen
7 years ago

In reading Chief Carters response letter, I noticed a couple of interesting facts, written in his own words: “Over the past year, the Department became divided from within. Some of that division was caused by events as outlined in the officers’ letter. While Dan Nolan was, and still is, one… Read more »

Local
Local
7 years ago

You couldn’t have said it better!

Vons shopper
Vons shopper
7 years ago
Reply to  Local

You hit the nail on the head. Well said and true.

redneck
redneck
7 years ago

Dear Concerned Citizen, PERFECT !!!!!!!!

Concerned Citizen
Concerned Citizen
7 years ago

Wow looks like many Bishop people have voiced their concerns.

I think the city council and the city administrator should take notice, place the chief on suspension, and have an outside investigation be conducted!!!!!!!!!

Tim
Tim
7 years ago

I’ve seen something similar happen at another agency. It was sad because a pretty solid police department essentially tore itself up, shed a lot of good officers who were tired of the BS, and still hasn’t recovered. All because the Chief “helped a buddy out” when the buddy did something… Read more »

Charles O. Jones
Charles O. Jones
7 years ago

As I said in the other thread – No Confidence votes rarely work out well for anyone involved. On a separate note: Unless there is specific language in the MOU specifying otherwise, work schedules are subject to the meet and confer process before changes can be made. From the chief’s… Read more »

Trouble
Trouble
7 years ago

I gotta wonder if they need seven new bailiffs at the new court house?

Local
Local
7 years ago

What is wrong with working at K-Mart? Made himself sound like a bigger jerk than the Officer’s letter did.

Lorijellybean
Lorijellybean
7 years ago

All of this, and the 2 CEO’s being told to step down are showing me Bishop has a problem with drama. That or they like to eliminate people before the fiscal year starts. Or both. I feel like I’m living in a 22 Peyton Place Paradigm. How sad and embarrassing… Read more »

Zena Bradley
Zena Bradley
7 years ago
Reply to  Lorijellybean

It seems that the behavior of the police and the hospital employees have something in common, kill your leader for your own selfish agenda. Where is the city council? Will they act as weak as the hospital board and cave to the disgruntled police officers? What happens when no one… Read more »

John Barton
John Barton
7 years ago

No mention of the use of City resources for his personal business venture. I think this was the most serious allegation and should be investigated. If one or two officers had signed this, hardly anyone would have taken notice, however with seven officers signing, there are a lot of issues… Read more »

Happy
Happy
7 years ago
Reply to  John Barton

Probably won’t have to worry about the hiring of a new chief if the Sheriff takes over! Whatcha think?!?

Trouble
Trouble
7 years ago

So, who”s going to be the prom queen?

Peter O.
Peter O.
7 years ago

My favorite paragraph is the one about little league. Some of the men who signed that letter are probably the best at the PD and give more then 111%. He sounds so arrogant that I believe the 7 officers even more. Thank you Chief

former leo
former leo
7 years ago
Reply to  Peter O.

You are absolutely right, most of the officers who signed this letter are with out a doubt the best officers at the B.P.D. and give more than “111 %” I know this personally and stand behind them.

Sherman
Sherman
7 years ago

That man could sell ice to an Eskimo, still don’t buy it. You have proven them right.

Jara Halfen
Jara Halfen
7 years ago

Enough said.