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Saturday, April 28, 2012

Former Police Chief Loses Suit, Alleges Retaliation for Corruption Inquiries

Former Colton Police Chief Loses Suit 
The Press-Enterprise by Darrell R. Santschi - April 27, 2012 

San Bernardino, CA - Former Colton Police Chief Kenneth Rulon lost in court Thursday on a lawsuit alleging he was wrongfully fired. According to law firms representing the city and Rulon, a San Bernardino County Superior Court jury ruled 10-2 against Rulon. He had served as Colton police chief from June 2003 until April 2007. He claimed that he had investigated allegations of corruption against employees and elected officials and was fired in retaliation for doing so. He said at the time he filed the suit in 2007 that he had turned over information about corruption to the FBI, the state attorney general’s office and the San Bernardino County district attorney’s office. In the suit, he claimed that he had received several significant awards while serving as chief and was rated “exceptional” and “consistently outstanding” in his only job evaluation in 2004. He also said in the suit that he had resisted pressure from former Councilman Ramon Hernandez, who was later convicted of spending taxpayer money to stay at local hotels and call sex hotlines. John Higginbotham, a Riverside attorney who represented Colton in court, argued that Rulon was aware of the corruption “before any of the city’s top officials became aware and … his claims related to such information had nothing to do with his termination.” Higginbotham said in a news release Friday that “Mr. Rulon was fired because the police department and (then-city manager Daryl Parrish) had lost complete confidence in his ability to lead, and not because of anything having to do with former councilman Hernandez.” The attorney said Rulon was an at-will employee who was fired “after all four lieutenants and 83 of 89 employees at the Police Department voted ‘no confidence’ in Rulon’s leadership.” Before the 20-day trial went to the jury, Higginbotham said, seven of Rulon’s eight original claims were dismissed. Among the dismissed claims was one against Parrish, who resigned as Colton city manager in 2009 to become city manager in Covina.

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