Thursday, January 5, 2012

Twin Rivers interim police chief resigns amid launch of criminal probes

January 5, 2012

By Sam Stanton and Melody Gutierrez

After less than two months on the job, the interim police chief for the Twin Rivers Unified School District abruptly resigned Wednesday amid stepped-up investigations into the district by the Sacramento County grand jury, the District Attorney's office and federal agents.

Trang To, a department captain and former Sacramento Sheriff's Department official, was named to head the troubled agency in November after the district placed Chief Christopher Breck on administrative leave.

To had been brought in to head the department after a series of controversies that included claims of excessive towing and traffic stops by officers, as well as the October shooting of a department officer during a Saturday traffic stop. The officer survived the shooting, but the incident focused new attention on the district and its department after a suspect arrested in the shooting died in Sacramento Police Department custody.

Twin Rivers police spokesman William Cho did not immediately respond to a request for comment today. District spokeswoman Trinette Marquis said the district has not received a letter of resignation from To and could not comment.

To is expected to be replaced by former Sacramento Police Capt. Scott LaCosse.

Meanwhile, The Bee has learned that the police department is now the subject of criminal probes involving the District Attorney's Office, the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

The ATF and FBI probes involve the possible mishandling of weapons in the department's possession, including the loss at one point of an automatic weapon that has since been recovered, sources told The Bee.

Those probes are in addition to a longstanding investigation by the county grand jury into allegations of theft of district property, mismanagement and other issues.

The district itself has launched its own internal investigation, hiring a former top FBI agent to conduct a review of the police department. James Maddock, whose experience includes working the Oklahoma City bombing investigation and heading the Sacramento FBI office during the 1990s, has been hired by the district.

Helen Dunkel, a spokeswoman for the ATF in San Francisco, declined comment today.

"I'm not confirming that anyone is under investigation," Dunkel said.

A spokeswoman for the District Attorney's Office, Shelly Orio, confirmed to The Bee today that a criminal investigation is underway, but said she could not comment further.

Read more here:

No comments: