IMPERIAL – Tensions ran high at aÂ specialÂ Imperial City Council meeting held Tuesday afternoon that was called to deal with the “Letter of No Confidence” received earlier this month from the Imperial Police Officers Association concerning their chief of police, Miguel Colon. Mayor Geoff Dale stated the Councilâ€™sÂ response.
At the meeting Mayor Dale read his written statement:
The City of Imperial was recently ranked the fourth safest city in California. The Imperial Police Department, led by Chief Miguel Colon, deserves our admiration and gratitude for this significant achievement. The Chief and his officers have my full and unwavering support, and should be commended for doing a great job protecting and serving our community.
I know the entire City Council stands with me in supporting our Chief of Police and City Manager.â€¨Unfortunately, at last week’s council meeting, the Police Union- apparently under the direction of their lawyer- delivered a letter that was a clear and deplorable attempt to bully the Chief and our city.â€¨This is not a new tactic by the Police Union’s Lawyer, Mike McGill. In fact, Mr. McGill is a former partner of a now-defunct law firm that gained national infamy for its “playbook” for intimidating the leadership of cities throughout California and utilizing these same tactics to extort additional taxpayer dollars.
â€¨IÂ strongly encourage all interested parties to review these news stories, which depict the commonly used strong-arm tactics that are currently on display in our city:â€¨http://www.ocregister.com/taxdollars/strong-478876-public-police.htmlâ€¨http://www.ocregister.com/taxdollars/mensinger-536815-police-dammeier.htmlâ€¨http://www.sbsun.com/government-and-politics/20131219/attorneys-from-now-defunct-upland-law-firm-sued-for-fraud-malpractice.
â€¨We find the timing of this letter perplexing, because on November 5, 2014, we settled negotiations with the police union providing them with additional salary and benefits. Let me make this perfectly clear: the City of Imperial will not be bullied or intimidated.â€¨The Citizens are asking questions. The City Council stands together in support of the great police officers we have, including the Chief. We are a team working for the citizens and we don’t want these tactics to divide the staff or the community.
After Mayor Daleâ€™s statement was read to the public, Colon then addressed the audience.
“I will not comment on the IPOA ‘s allegations or their tactics, but I will tell you, I am not in battle. As the Chief of Police I set the tone for public safety and our community. I will continue the quality of life, of all citizens, by providing a safe environment for them, and for our schools, our neighborhoods and our city streets. I wish to thank the City Council, the City Manager and the community for the support because they deserve and expect quality service from the Police Department.â€
â€œTo my good officers, I will say you are in an honorable profession and to continue services with compassion and character. We will overcome this challenge, and the City of Imperial will always be the Police Departmentâ€™s number one priority of public safety.”
Eric Granado, IPOA President and Imperial Police Officer expressed his feeling on the Council response.
“There has been retaliation, the day after we handed over the letter of no confidence to the city, the Chief came into my office with a written reprimanded about some minor report that was late, that there shows the kind of environment we have to work in.”
He later added, “The City Council has not called or tried to contact our office to talk to us about any of this or gain any information, you can tell by the cityâ€™s physical demeanor that they are upset and are taking this very personal, when its not personal.”
Audience members shouted and yelled whenÂ Mayor Dale responded to a question concerning the city being sued, “We are dealing with lawyers on both sides, the city is not being sued, but the Chief has litigations.”
For more information on the City Council meeting or upcoming meeting you may contact the City of Imperial at (760) 355-4371.[envira-gallery id=”45833″]