Hearing officer Gary Axon from Ashland, OR recently recommended to the Colusa County Board of Supervisors that the termination of Colusa County Deputy Probation Officer (DPO) Harold “Bucky” Burner be revoked. In a 78-page decision, the hearing officer found that the county violated Burner’s rights as a California peace officer and did not have just and proper cause to terminate his employment. The hearing officer recommended that Burner be reinstated to his former position with back pay, less a two-week suspension. Burner was represented by this author, a PORAC Legal Defense Fund attorney and a partner in the Sacramento office of Carroll, Burdick & McDonough LLP.
Burner was a 12-year veteran of the Colusa County Probation Department before his termination on April 12, 2002. Burner’s main assignment was as the county’s truancy officer. As the truancy officer, Burner regularly worked with local school administrators and the county’s Student Attendance Review Board (SARB). He was known as the SARB officer. Burner’s employment record was relatively uneventful, with the exception of some minor write-ups and a two-day suspension several years earlier. Everything was going well for Burner until the last three months of his employment. At that point, there was a changing of the guard that affected Burner’s employment.
From 1990 up to six months prior to his termination, Burner’s supervisor was Chief Probation Officer Carl Womack. Womack’s last evaluation of Burner was “satisfactory” approaching “well-qualified”. When Womack retired, Eldon “Jack” Johnston was his supervisor for three months, and then Steve Bordin became the chief probation officer over Burner. Bordin had not previously worked for the department and was completely unfamiliar with the employees, policies, procedures, and practices.
After Bordin took over as Burner’s supervisor, Burner requested two days off, December 20 and 21, 2001, to attend his daughter’s out-of-state wedding. Unfortunately, Burner fell ill prior to his scheduled time off and called in sick on December 18. Burner decided to go ahead and drive to Utah for the wedding since he was only going to be sitting in the car as opposed to sitting in his house. Burner left for Utah on December 18, 2001. The following day Burner was still ill and on the road. He called in sick for December 19, 2001. During the four days Burner was absent, no one from the department called him to report any problems or request any further information regarding his absence.
While in Utah, Burner dropped off the car he was driving for his daughter and caught a bus back to California. He made it as far as Williams, CA at which point he required some assistance in order to get home. After attempts to get a ride from public transportation and family failed, Burner contacted the Colusa County Sheriff’s Department dispatch center for a shuttle to his home. There were police officers in Williams and Colusa who were not busy at the time and were able to assist Burner by providing a shuttle for him. The officers had a clear understanding of whom Burner was and that they were providing him with a courtesy ride for personal reasons.
Upon his return to work, Burner was faced with a barrage of accusations by his supervisor Bordin. Bordin requested explanations for Burner’s absence on December 18 and 19, failing to reschedule an appointment on December 21, and for allegedly not handling SARB cases in a timely manner. Burner provided a memorandum explaining his absences and the appointments he had missed.
On December 27, 2001, the SARB assistant, who informed him she would be taking a day off, confronted Burner. Since the assistant provided support to Burner as the SARB officer, Burner inquired about many recent absences she had taken from work, which she noticed he had noted in his calendar. The assistant flew off the handle at this inquiry and accused Burner of harassing her about her work schedule. On that same date, Bordin called Burner to his office and questioned and lectured Burner about his trip to Utah and the courtesy rides he received from the Williams and Colusa officers. Bordin interrogated Burner without giving proper notice or advising him of his POBR rights. Bordin subsequently placed Burner on paid administrative leave in response to the complaint.
Bordin then requested a senior DPO review all Burner’s case files for any compliance problems. The senior DPO alleged that he uncovered case files that showed Burner misrepresented probationers’ compliance with reporting obligations. Burner was never questioned about the files or given an opportunity to explain any perceived irregularities.
During February 2002, while Burner remained on administrative leave, Bordin issued a written performance evaluation for the period February 1, 2001 through January 31, 2002. Bordin had only supervised Burner for less than three months at the time of his evaluation. Bordin rated Burner’s performance as substandard. Bordin subsequently prepared a written addendum where he cited alleged prior deficiencies from prior performance evaluations outside the applicable rating period. In neither Bordin’s performance evaluation of Burner nor the addendum, did Bordin cite any facts or examples within the rating period to support the substandard rating.
On March 5, 2002, Bordin notified Burner that he was proposing to terminate Burner’s employment effective March 15, 2002. Burner responded to the proposed punitive action and a Skelly hearing was conducted. The county upheld the proposed termination. Burner appealed the termination and a hearing was held before hearing officer Axon on August 20-22, 2002. The hearing officer’s proposed decision reinstating Burner was issued on January 27, 2003.
The evidence presented to the hearing officer demonstrated the lengths the county went to in order to support its contrived case for terminating Burner’s employment. The county repeatedly disregarded Burner’s rights under the POBR in devising a case against Burner. For example, the hearing officer was presented with evidence that showed the county placed numerous documents containing adverse comments in Burner’s personnel file without Burner being afforded an opportunity to read and sign the documents or file written responses. The county actually tried to use such documents as a basis for its decision to dismiss Burner in violation of the POBR.
Bordin performed an investigatory interview of Burner without proper notice or advising Burner of his rights. The county actually tried to argue that there was no investigation prior to discipline. This argument worked against the county as well, because the county was required to investigate the facts in determining if there was cause to terminate Burner’s employment. The fact is, although an interview was conducted in violation of Burner’s rights, Burner was not questioned or confronted about many of the charges by the county in order to determine whether he acted improperly.
The hearing officer in this case was not fooled for a minute by the obvious piling on of charges to justify the county’s actions. The county unconscionably attempted to rely on prior corrective action as a basis for new charges against Burner. Bordin included matters dating back to 1991 in the termination notice. The hearing officer found that the county improperly relied on acts or omissions that were time-barred under the POBR, subjected Burner to double jeopardy by charging him with misconduct based on incidents that were subject of prior corrective action, and wrongfully used prior events that had never resulted in discipline as a basis for termination. Accordingly, the hearing officer granted Burner’s motion to strike all these superfluous charges.
The performance evaluation by Bordin was also fraught with inconsistency and lack of support. Bordin rated Burner’s performance as substandard after working with Burner for less than three months. Bordin completely ignored the previous evaluation by Womack, where he marked 31 categories as satisfactory or above. Womack also concluded Burner’s overall performance was satisfactory and found no deficiencies. Womack’s evaluation came from a man who supervised Burner from 1990 to 2001. Bordin made his evaluation after less than three months and without any reference to specific examples of conduct to support the drop from satisfactory to unsatisfactory.
With regard to the remaining charges, the hearing officer only found evidence to support two of the alleged charges, neither of which supported dismissal. Burner’s absences during the time he went to Utah were approved by Bordin as paid vacation time off. The county’s own actions in approving the time refuted its assertion that Burner made false statements with regard to requesting time off. The charge regarding Burner’s absences was not sustained.
Burner admitted that he had not made arrangements to have a meeting with a probationer covered by another DPO in his absence. The punishment of dismissal was found to be excessive for such a violation and a written reprimand was recommended.
The evidence did not support the county’s allegation that Burner abused his position to secure personal transportation. The officers who assisted Burner were fully aware of who he was and the reason he needed a ride home. There was no abuse of position or misrepresentation to the officers who assisted Burner as suggested by the county. Both officers stated that it was not uncommon to provide courtesy rides and that providing such rides did not violate policy. Therefore, this charge was not sustained.
The county alleged Burner made misrepresentations to the court regarding probationers’ meetings. The senior DPO believed he found evidence in three cases that showed probationers allegedly were not in compliance with reporting requirements. The senior DPO conveniently jumped to a conclusion that would justify terminating Burner’s employment instead of investigating the matter further by questioning Burner or contacting the probationers. The hearing officer only found evidence that Burner had been sloppy and careless in maintaining his files and such inefficiency only merited a two-week suspension, not termination.
Finally, the hearing officer found the county’s harassment charge was an inappropriate attempt to bolster its case by citing unverified complaints from citizens and co-workers dating back to 1992. Burner was never disciplined for the old complaints. The county actually tainted this charge by trying to use such evidence. The county failed to show by a preponderance of the evidence that Burner harassed anyone, including the SARB assistant, during the relevant time period.
In light of his findings that all but two charges should be dismissed, the hearing officer recommended that Burner’s termination be reversed and he be reinstated with all lost wages and benefits, less a two-week suspension. This case was ultimately concluded when the county entered into a settlement agreement with Burner, and Burner decided to retire from his position. As a result of the case, the probation department has changed its practices with respect to disciplinary investigations to conform to the requirements of the POBR.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Tim Talbot is a labor law attorney and PORAC LDF panel attorney who represents public safety employees. He is a partner in the Sacramento office of Carroll, Burdick & McDonough.
PORAC Legal Defense Administrator Ed Fishman Testimony: Law Enforcement Use of Body Cameras.
- Ronald J. Danison El Monte POA
The LDF is a tool available to me which I hope never goes away. It makes me feel that much more confident to do my job knowing LDF has my back when police work gets ugly. And it usually does..
- Steven Moorehouse Redding POA
Thank you for your help.
- Gary Silva East Bay Region Parks POA
Thank you for providing this service. My experience with LDF was very much to my satisfaction.
- Stephen Woodward Palm Springs POA
Great job by my LDF lawyer. I have had to use them several times over my 20 year career and their service is invaluable.
- Jonathan Smith San Diego D.A. Investigators
I couldn't be happier or more satisfied with my LDF Representative, the process and the outcome of my case.
- German Alvarez Anaheim PA
[My representative ] was great!
- Grace Castro AFGE Local 2455 – Laredo, TX
My representative was very kind and showed he cared when explaining what my legal rights were when dealing with an internal investigation.
- Jeff Stanley Upland POA
Excellent representation. [My representative] is a great attorney.
- Marshall Henderson Vancouver Police Officers Guild
I have used LDF in 3 OIS's. Each time I have been very well taken care of. I highly recommend [ representative ] and the PORAC system. Well done and thank you.
- Brendan Dolan Milwaukee PA
Everything went very smooth and they handled everything! Thank you.
- Jaime Kim Oakland POA
My rep did a good job. First we met and he explained that there might be culpability on my part but not nothing close to the allegations. I appreciated his honesty as we have all done things that can be taken out of context so it was important he told me to realize that.
- Russell Wise Alameda POA
- Wendy Morrow Chico Public Safety Association
I had never been through an I.A. in my 21 years. I was scared and ashamed and humiliated. ( My attorney ) was excellent. He helped me through one of the worst times of my life. Had great outcome and I am grateful.
- John M. Laser Oceanside POA
[My representative] always took my calls or returned them within hours. Put my mind at ease and kept me well informed. LDF is well served by this law firm!
- Christine Farmer Tehama Co DSA
Mine was a fairly simple situation and I may not have needed representative. I am glad I called for help, it gave me peace of mind and reassurance.
- Michelle Foerder Pinole PEA
I thank God for the support of LDF and my attorney. I had a letter of intent to be fired and he helped me turn it all around. I still have my job and I'm so grateful.
- Gina Reyes Broadmoor POA
[My representative] was wonderful! Even though my situation didn't end in my favor, he was very supportive, informative & patient. He always answered every email in a timely fashion and was very accessible. I appreciated everything he was able to do for me.
- Carl Miller Clearlake POA
- Katherine Comesana Mountain View POA
Hope to never in a situation again, however, glad to know that LDF is there to help.
- Gina Romines San Joaquin Co Corr POA
I couldn't have been more satisfied with the representative!
- Michael Sexton Manteca POA
[My representative] was awesome.
- Yvonne Heuston ERS/SPPOA Supervisors
My representative was outstanding and knew what to lookout for and how to handle situations as they appeared. He told me what to expect and how he proposed to handle the hurdles. Just telling what to expect helped put me at ease as the situation was so foreign to me, and intimidating.
- Greg Gladson LA Airport POA
[My representative] was very professional and helpful. She kept me informed with my options and the direction of the investigation.
- Melissa Geraci Oakland POA
This is my 1st time using LDF and was very pleased with the service I got. [My representative] was so friendly & always returned my calls & even called to update me without provocation.
- Dwayne Sue Oakland POA
[My representative was] great! She kept me informed and was very professional. She would be my choice if I should need her services in the future! (But I hope I won't) Thanks!
- George Fierro El Monte POA
I am a firm believer that LDF serves an essential part in the assistance to protect an officer's POBR & in the integrity of an investigation or complaint. I highly recommend the law office of [My Represenative].
- Nick Bannister Phoenix LEA
I was extremely grateful for professional representation provided by ( my attorney ) during this extremely stressful situation
- Steven Moorehouse Redding POA
You guys are Great! Very professional and well informed. THANK YOU!
- Joe Charvez Santa Clara Co DSA
I could not be happier with the interest, work put into my case, and assistance from [my representative]. Thanks !!
- Shaun Luciano LA School PA
LDF assisted by taking a stressful situation and calmed it down by thoroughly explaining the entire process. It was nice to know that I had an ally when I was sure that I was alone.
- Doug Plumhoff Ridgecrest PEA
Great job by all! Always great to know LDF is there when needed.
- Robert Curato Anderson POA
He did a great job for me!!! He always returned my phone calls within 24-hours. He showed an interest in my case and we were able to get the issue resolved in less than 45 minutes. Thank you for being there when I needed the legal assistance.
- Aaron Delgado Monterey POA
My representative called me back promptly and kept me informed. I had the impression she cared and was there to help.
- Christopher Boyd Carlsbad POA
[My representative] was an outstanding attorney to work with. Even though I did not receive a desirable outcome entirely, I was exceptionally satisfied with his representation. Thank you.
- James F. Beland Lake County SDA
- Paul Figueroa Oakland POA
LDF was there when I needed them!! In this litigious world, it's nice to know LDF has GREAT lawyers on our side who look out for us!! [My Representative] is a great attorney and a person I would trust in any circumstance!!!
- Brad Young Oakland POA
[ My representative ] is an awesome attorney.
- Miguel Masso Oakland POA
[I'm very satisfied and grateful] for LDF representing me. My attorney was professional, honest, and very knowledgeable of his profession. During these tough times my attorney would contact me on a regular basis to see how I was doing. This was obviously not part of his job description, but it kept me at ease and not losing my mind. I'm thankful that I was represented by LDF.
- Stacey Bonilla San Mateo County DSA
[My Represenative] is an excellent attorney. He is very professional yet personable and I would definitely use him again. Thank you!
- Andrew J. Brice Santa Maria POA
As always... an excellent result.
- Gerhard Wallace Santa Clara Co DSA
I think that [my representative] did a great job in presenting my case. I would recommend her to any deputy (officer) facing disciplinary action. My case was minor compared to other cases but [she] still did a professional job.
- Richard Salcido Brea PA
LDF is a great organization that not only helps their clients but many of those around them such as coworkers and family members.
- Jeff Griffin Downey POA
My experience with the LDF, and in particular my attorney, was extremely positive. [ My attorney ] worked very hard and kept me informed along the way.
- Gary J. Foppiano Oakland POA
[My representative] has been in my corner for 28 years. I have been represented by this firm probably 6 times in my career from minor to major discipline cases with a great outcome for me. They're batting 100%
- Steven Curtiss Shasta Co DSA
This was my first need for LDF support and I was very happy with the level of service. Thank you.
- Allison Clark Twin Cities POA
[My representative] is the best attorney LDF has. Her attention to details, professionalism, and intelligence were off the charts. If I did not have her as a rep I would probably be out of a job. She is fair and she was honestly concerned about me, my family and my case.
- Heather Fontes San Joaquin Co POA
I appreciated the thorough follow up by LDF staff. Many thanks and blessings for the work by LDF.
- Kim Prout Upland Firefighters Assoc
It was great comfort to know somebody would be there for me in this matter. I was able to finally sleep @ night & wake up with confidence that I would be ok. Thanks.
- Tamboura Nettingham Claremont Custody Center EA
My representative was an outstanding rep. I was very fortunate to be represented by her and the firm should be very proud to have her in it. She's courteous, smart and aggressive when needed. I would not ask for anyone else, if any other situation evolved, she's the best. Thanks.
- Tigran Topadzhikyan Glendale POA
[My representative] is an excellent attorney. I would use him again. He communicates with his clients and is very competent.
- Jorge Garcia San Joaquin Co Corr Officers
No criticism to give. Very well.
- Kelly K. Roe San Joaquin Co Corr Officers
[My representative] did a fantastic job at returning my phone calls and keeping me informed of any and all information pertaining to my case. I would recommend him to anyone.
- Jeff Stanley Upland POA
Excellent program, no one should be without this coverage.
- Nicholas Ward Antioch POA
[ Representative ] did a great job. My case was extremely complicated and difficult. She did a great job.
- William Burdette Newport Beach PMA
26 years and I have never needed a LDF rep, but the one time you need one, it was worth the fee’s paid.”
- Cherie Rye Lyon Co SEA
I am very happy with the service I received from LDF. I am grateful that our association includes LDF as part of our dues.
- Kip RIngen Lake Co DSA
My LDF rep kept me well informed concerning the progress of my case. I was extremely satisfied with the service I received. Thanks.
- Robert Hartman Contra Costa Co DSA
Quick response, experienced and knowledgeable attorney which assisted in every step. [My representative] kept me apprised through the process. Thank you.
- Brad Young Oakland POA
[My representative] is an excellent attorney and I am very happy he picks up the phone and answers my questions whenever possible.
- Joseph A. Henderson Merced POA
The firm I used was very valuable to my career and kept me updated as to status of the case. Thank you!
- Kenneth S. Blonski East Bay Regional Parks PMA
I was very pleased with my representative.
- Patrick Davis Oakland POA
Very knowledgeable and thorough and would use the rep again.
- Sean Tinney Berkeley PA
[My representative] was very attentive to my case and thorough with his investigation. I would request [him] again in the future.
- Melvarene Hayes LA Airport POA
They were there when I needed them and my whole case was handled on the phone. I met my representative after my case closed and he was at our union meeting when I had the pleasure to meet him and thank him in person.
- Dennis W. Ostini Lake County DSA
[My Representative] was fantastic, knowledgeable, professional and easy to talk and work with. Even though the allegations lodged have not been resolved, [My Representative] continued to communicate with me, to offer his assistance.
- Jason Walters Claremont POA
LDF was very informative and provided me with the direction on how to handle my case. I was very happy with LDF and their staff.
- Eric White Emeryville POA
Very satisfied with the LDF services provided. Thank you.
- Marco Flores Ventura County PPOA
Great program. I was lost until the attorneys explained the situation. I was very impressed and satisfied. Thanks LDF.
- James Walker Yakima Police Patrolsman Assn
This attorney and her legal team were one of the best I’ve seen and interacted with. I was always in the loop and constantly updated on the case status. I would use (my attorney) again if the need came and recommend her to anyone.
- Jason Kearsing Elk Grove POA
Very happy with LDF.
- Gregg Palmer San Joaquin Co Corr POA
Everything was explained very well prior to my questioning. I was not worried at all during the investigation. Very professional and a great asset to its members.
- Omar Daza-Quiroz Oakland POA
I have had (2) two cases in which LDF represented me. Both lawyers were exceptionally professional, intelligent and caring for me. They were friendly and very helpful.
- Scott Cox Tulare Co DSA
I just want to say [my representative] did a great job! Thank you.
- Robyn Delaney Mono County PSOA
[My Representative] truly is an exceptional attorney. He has always represented me with honesty and compassion. Well Done.
- Paul Spencer Santa Paula POA
[My Representative] was great!
- Gilbert Garcia Oceanside POA
My attorney provided outstanding representation.
- Alvaro Ancheta Glendora POA
I felt I was represented in a thorough and professional manner.
- Raymond Fisher Colorado State Patrol Assn
I have known for sometime that PORAC would provide the services I needed at the time I needed them. This is a professional competent organization prepared to handle the appropriate legal matters our officers face in today's environment.
- Rich Stepper Montana PPA
[ My representative ] was very knowledgeable regarding dept & legal rules regarding officer involved shooting. Provided good legal advice & was very supportive.
- William Pryor Statewide University PA
Very helpful program. Helped keep department personnel focused on the issue regardless of their personal issues.
- Micheal Chad Heiser Santa Rosa POA
LDF is a valuable resource that no law enforcement officer should be without.
- Jack Ellis Lompoc POA
An excellent plan. Very valuable to its members.
- Patrick Beggs Fresno Co DSA
Good service. Thank you.
- Christopher Connally Assn of LEA
To whom it may concern: Let me start by saying how much I appreciate the opportunity to join the PORAC Legal Defense Fund. This is a great benefit for our membership. During the past twelve months I was fortunate to have access to the Legal Defense Fund through MPCA. Earlier this year I was both surprise, and disappointed, when realized that I needed to provide counsel to mediate pending litigation. In accessing the Legal Defense Fund I found your staff to be very professional and reassuring. The staff felt that [my representative]., would be the best ft for the situation. I would like to take the opportunity to express my appreciation for being represented by [Rick Barry]. Not only was he a good fit for the circumstances, at times it seemed as if he was the only attorney out of several involved that really had a grasp on the issues. Again, I would like to thank the PORAC staff, and know that I could not have been better served than by what was provided by [my representative].
- Toinie Lee Jackson Madera Co DSA
Unfortunately, I have been placed in the position to use LDF several times in my career. Without their valued services, I would not be here to write this. I and my family thank you.
- Chris Moore Palo Alto POA
No Complaints. Great Resource.
- Linda Mendez Imperial Co Prob and Corr
I'm very pleased with the services offered by the LDF. I feel so fortunate to enjoy the benefits of having the membership. The services provided by LDF to its members is simply 110% professional, supportive, great!! LDF care for its members is reflected by the quality of Best Law Firm offered, simply the best!
- Michael Shephard Suisun City POA
LDF is a very valuable resource. I would not do this job without it.
- William DeWitt CPPA
Everything was awesome...could not be happier!
- Miguel Suarez Monterey Co DSA
[My representative] was very knowledgeable and courteous. He knew his stuff, and I couldn't have asked for a better guy to be on my side on this matter. Thanks.
- Douglas Mansker Bakersfield POA
(My attorney) is a very good attorney, despite his young age. He kept me well informed throughout my legal matter and returned phone calls in a prompt manner. I was very satisfied with his performance and would not hesitate to be represented by him again.
- Christopher Adams Modesto POA
Thank you for all your help!
- Nestor Hernandez San Diego POA
This is a great program designed to protect LEO’s in need
- Tyler Robins Pasadena City College POA
At a time when no one cares about you it's nice to have someone on your side who does. (My attorney ) made a stressful six months a lot more tolerable.
- Ken Burbank Shasta Co DSA
[ My representative ] was professional, articulate and prepared, but most importantly he understood the emotional impact the investigation was having on me as a person and peace officer. I highly recommend [my representative].
- Matthew Gardner Colorado PPA
I would not want to be an officer without this coverage. It was great to have it and kept my mind at ease.
- Roman Fernandez Inglewood POA
My representatives were always well-prepared and organized for hearings and meetings. Their efforts, hard work and full support is truly appreciated.
- Albert Contreas Imperial Co. DSA
Thank you for your services.
- Robert Glock Oakland POA
I am always satisfied with LDF and all their representatives.
- Anthony Russo Clark Co School District
The members of my Association are very pleased with the level of representation that PORAC has given to us. As the President I can not thank you all enough.
- Erik Kusmerz Lyon Co SEA
Amazing job, Thank you.
- Ricky L. Hemphill Los Angeles School PA
[My representative] was an excellent lawyer.
- Steven E. Lopez Santa Maria POA
Keep up the Good Work! Your service was extremely helpful to me. Thank you.
- Keith Braden Los Angeles School Police Mgmt Assn
Great work, no complaints.
- Rachael Van Sloten Oakland POA
LDF is absolutely essential to help make a system that is somewhat broken work more effectively. [My Representative] is excellent and takes a great deal of time to lisen and represent.
- Scott King Ripon POA
[My representative] is the best LDF rep I have ever had. If I were to need an LDF rep again I would want it to be [my representative].
- Caitlin Collins Tiburon POA
[My representative] made himself available 7 days a week understanding that those were my needs. He was very well informed and kept me on the right track and in the right frame of mind.
- Steven Mayorga Ventura County DSA
I was well represented and very glad to have LDF. Thank you.
- Adam Laird Eureka POA
Dear PORAC Legal Defense Fund, This email has been weighing on my heart and should have been sent a long time ago. However, time seems to move fast even though your life has been put on hold. I have been on administrative leave since December of 2012. In April of 2013, I was arrested for the performance of my duties. Since the administrative side this case has not been resolved, I won't be getting into specific details regarding my case. However, I will say that I never thought that my life would turned upside down by doing the job that I love, and doing it in a way that I had been trained. I have been in Law Enforcement for 10 years, and I have been paying my monthly dues all along. I never really understood how important paying dues might be for me, I just thought it was the "cost of business". After being arrested, I understood the real worth of that investment. Because of politics, my case was given the "full court press". On January 3rd of 2014, the case against me was dismissed. It took no less than 5 experts to convince the Humboldt County District Attorney's Office to request dismissal. The time, effort, and money that this case cost couldn't have been endured by me as the sole provider of a family of four. LDF was there, big time. The panel attorney's under LDF were the best in the business. In the uncertain time during the criminal process, I couldn't have imagined how much help they could be. What a relief to know that LDF had my back. I am used to defending those who can't defend themselves. That's my job. When I was defenseless, LDF and the attorneys assigned to my case were my advocates and defenders. I thank you. My criminal attorney said it best at the conclusion of my criminal case: "Adam and his family are thankful that they can now move forward. The evidence showing Sgt. Laird was innocent was overwhelming. The expert EPD hired said that the suspect was rising up when Sgt. Laird pushed him back to the ground. The two experts that the DA’s office hired said that the force was reasonable and appropriate. The defensive tactics instructor who trained Adam said he acted consistent with his training in apprehending a high risk suspect in a dangerous situation. In total, five separate police practices experts reviewed the case and unanimously said Sgt. Laird acted appropriately". "It is hard to imagine what it must be like to risk your life apprehending a known gang member only to be charged with using excessive force when the suspect stated that he did not even feel the contact at issue. It is simply bizarre that Sgt. Laird was ever charged with a crime". Thank you. My family and I will forever be grateful for your service, Sergeant Adam Laird
- Todd Costa Santa Clara Co DSA
This was my first Internal Affairs investigation, my lawyer walked me through every step and answered all of my questions, without my lawyer's advice, I would have been lost throughout the investigation and a complete disadvantage against my department.
- Rachel Tyner Transit EOA of San Diego
All the LDF representatives were very courteous and attentive with a punctual response to all of my concerns, inquiries and appointment scheduling. My representative was very informative about the legalities and kept in contact with me regularly. He was also very patient and straight forward. I would definitely want to use the LDF again and felt more confident through my proceedings because I had representation!
- Nicholas Belliveau Sebastopol POA
High quality service, proficient, well informed. Overall, very happy with experience.
- Alex Camarillo LASchool P A
[My Representative] did an excellent job with my case. He was very professional and kept me well informed throughout this case. Thank you for an awesome job.
- Nancy Page Aurora PA
I didn't end up needing his service but he was awesome in what conversations we had before the matter was resolved. Very valuable - LDF!
- Tia Dixione Inglewood POA
My representative was very helpful and informative.
- Rodd N. Joseph Clearlake MMA
I appreciate the fact that my representative met with me in a social setting prior to the interview, during which time she learned the facts of the case. She was prepared for the interview. She seemed to have a genuine interest in my case.
- Scot Hicks Humbolt County DSO
My experience was made much less stressful thanks to the LDF representation.
- Jay Garacochea Culver City POA
[My representative] not only did he do a great job but he listened to my concerns. He did not force his views or game plan and we worked well w/ each other. We agreed on a goal and achieved it.
- Larry Fitch Shasta Co DSA
My LDF rep was great, always returned my calls quickly and kept me up to date with what was going on with the case. Thank you.
- Christopher Walters Antioch POA
My LDF rep was very attentive, and courteous. She made every effort to keep me informed, and kept my best interests at the front of the process. I was very satisfied with my LDF rep, and the entire process.
- Korey Lankow Assn Highway Patrol of Arizona
Outstanding service from bottom-to-top.
- Christopher M. Fuzie Modesto POA
I was very impressed with the speed at which the case was handled. Thank you!
- Brian Markert Lakewood Police Indp Guild
I feel that I was very well represented by the LDF regarding a fatal officer involved shooting. Both attorneys assigned to assist me - our guild attorney plus a criminal defense attorney - were very aggressive and helpful. Their work was instrumental in helping me to navigate the criminal and internal investigations so that I could return to full duty status.
- Katie Angermiller Tuolumne Co DSA
I was very satisfied with the work the LDF performed. The lawyers and clerical staff at [law firm] were all very kind, professional and they always assisted me when I called and never made me feel like I was a burden. Thank you LDF!
- Oliver Sansen Concord POA
In 14 years I have never had to deal with an "IA." [My representative] was wonderful & put my mind at ease throughout the entire process. Thank you!
- Cathleen Weldon Siskiyou Correctional POA
Very Comforting to have a knowledgeable person looking out for my best inerests. Thx!
- Anthony Zack Vernon POA
This was the first time in my twenty-five year career that I had to use the services of my legal defense fund. My LDF Representative was extremely courteous, informative and professional.. She addressed all of my concerns and answered all of my questions. She did an overall outstanding job of representing me and handling my case. I could not have been any more pleased or satisfied with the job she did! I would definitely request her to represent me in the future if I needed representation.
- Kristen Patterson Contra Costa Co Prob. Assn.
[My representative] was helpful and made me feel supported. I got the results I desired. Very pleased with the process.
- Daniel Smock Ventura County PPOA
Everything went smooth. I think the current system works very well.
- Rick Stephens Alpine CO DSA
My representative was very good. I highly recommend my lawyer to anyone.
- Roy Iler San Benito CO LEM
[My representative] always returned phone calls and let me know if he was contacted with information.
- Martha Tschetter Carson City Sheriffs PA
The LDF process was painless and I was able to get immediate representation in an urgent time of need. Thank you LDF
- Scott Hamilton San Bernardino Co SEBA
Don't go to work without LDF!
- William Jackson Santa Maria POA
Keep up the great work.
- Christopher Delaney Upland POA
Your rep was very personal. Even though my case involved something minor, your rep made me [feel] my case was his most important. I am very satisfied with my LDF team.
- Dan McDow San Luis Obispo POA
[My representative] is the poster face representative of the greatest attorney (representative) that anyone could possibly ask for. She gets a 12 out of 10 star rating. Nobody works harder.
- RIchard Okeson Hesperia USD POA
I can't express how satisfying and comforting it was to have such a well qualified and pleasant attorney at my side. Thank you so much for everything you did for me, and if you can, please thank [ my representative] again for being there for me.
- Anthony Alonzo South Gate POA
Very pleased with the way the process was explained to me. Received updated info faster than I expected. Overall a good experience in a not so good situation. Thanks to LDF.
- Eric Olson Escondido POA
You guys did an amazing job! Thank you L.D.F. !
- Tai Pena-Hornung Oakland POA
Those who foolishly feel LDF is not a valuable resource, do so only because they have not yet needed legal representation.
- Kim Jasper Alhambra POA
Excellent service, prompt and courteous.
- James Beckman Miracosta College POA
Highly recommend this program for any LEO!
- Robert Morales Rialto PBA
I was very pleased with the service I received
- Robert Muelberg Denver PPA
I could not have had a better attorney. [My representative ] went way above and beyond his duties. I would not have had a better experience with my representative. I believe that the LDF is the single most important benefit a police officer could have!
- Greg Harman Kensington POA
[My representative] is the best!!
- Ron Ruddy Riverside POA
- Christopher Wirth A F G E Border Patrol
LDF referred me to [ representative ] in Spokane, WA. [ Representative ] did an outstanding job representing me. Thank you very much for the referral ! I would not be employed any longer had it not been for [ representative ] and his legal team.”
- Gregory Carbett Ontario POA
The attorney assigned to my case was GREAT! It's sad, but it's impossible to be an officer in today's world without a defense fund like PORAC LDF. I am now retired and signed up for the retired officers CCW LDF. Thanks!
- Michael Kan Palo Alto POA
I have always been and will continue to be a strong supporter of LDF and would not work as a police officer without it. I am extremely happy with the service I have received both from LDF and [my representative].
- Derwin Longmire Oakland POA
Outstanding [law firm] - incredible firm. And, LDF was easy to work and correspond with.
- Chad Sakamoto National City POA
Although this incident was unfounded, it's still stressful. My LDF rep kept me informed and kept "work" at work.
- James Beckman Miracosta College POA
Excellent service everytime.
- Christopher Wells Hollister POA
My rep was great.
- Juan Espinoza Fresno DSA
[My representative] did a great job. He is both thorough and well educated. I would use him again.
- Rodney Kirkland Oakland POA
Being a police officer in the city of Oakland, I appreciate the services that are offered.
- Paul Barrolaza Twin Cities POA
- Billy Aldridge Chico POA
[My representative] was awesome! He provided an excellent explanation of the process and was very professional. This was my first IA in 11 years of LE and [my representative] did a great job of reassuring me that I had nothing to worry about. Thank you so much for all your help.
- Anthony Gregori Sonoma Co Jr College P O A
Excellent work and well worth it.
- Sherri Coral Riverside Community College
He was very professional. I trusted him to defend and he did! I am very thankful he was here for me.
- David Baker Placerville POA
My experience through dealing with this matter was horrific. Without the efforts of the LDF and more specifically [my representative], I would most certainly have fallen victim to a corrupt and unethical administration. The LDF has saved my career and brought me justice.
- Kerry Carlson Midpeninsula Ranger POA
I have held leadership positions in our POA most of my career. Because of my role as President and Vice President I have been a target to management. I feel that if it were not for LDF I wouldn't have a job
- Byron Kies Santa Barbara Co DSA
Everything was great!
- Phillip Flores Oxnard POA
My attorney was excellent. I would use her again.
- Gilbert Salazar Montebello POA
Can’t say enough. Both representatives that I had in 2016 were excellent. ( My attorney ) made himself available to me in late night hours, which made me feel comfortable and at ease. This program is essential to us in law enforcement.
- Dennis Leach National City POA
[My Representative] is a knowledgeable attorney and I would highly recommend him to anyone needing representation.
- John Tinder Chino POA
Having an LDF attorney who is experienced, knowledgeable and professional is an outstanding quality. [My representative ]exhibit all of these qualities and more. They are outstanding and I would not entrust my career to anyone else!
- Paul Hernandez LA Gen Services POA Inc.
[My Representative] was very helpful in my situation and I can't thank him enough.
- Keith Stiver Hayward POA
[My representative] brings a superlative reputation, a comforting and confidence building demeanor and a clear expertise to the table. In particular I appreciate her philosophy that she gives her total undivided attention to her clients during their appointments.
- Emery Eccle Culver City POA
LDF is THE most important asset / resource that police officers have. "Thank you" to all involved and keep up the good work!
- Chris Lyon Tulare Co DSA
Very thorough group of sharp/smart government concerned [attorneys]. They understood what was happening and briefed me on everything. I was very impressed.
- Dan Lovelace Chandler LEA
Thank you for the funding and support. I would be in jail right now if it were not for LDF. I would not have had the funding to pay for the case. It was a tremendous help having [my representative] and his support team and the many experts supplied by LDF. I speak for myself, my family and other members of my association.
- Scott Muir Tracy POA
Very satisfied with the service I was given.
- Malcolm Norrington LA School PA
I am very pleased with LDF and would use and recommend them again and again and again.
- Alfredo Hernandez El Centro POA
[My representative] was very attentive, [informative] and knowledgeable. He spoke very clearly and explained things in ways easy to understand. [He] made me feel like he truly cared about what was going on with this case and me. Not to mention [he] was funny and witty, traits which made him trustworthy and someone who would stand by me and other police officers.
- Jason Boust Sanger POA
My rep was very helpful in explaining the processes and stayed in contact throughout the ordeal.
- John Dougherty National City POA
My LDF Representative was [Representative]. He did an outanding job with my case and I am overjoyed with the results.
- Craig Caches Fremont POA
I have only used LDF once for myself, which with the circumstance was great. I work with LDF in my assignment ( OIS investigator ) and after approximately 4-5 OIS's, I have great experiences with LDF.
- James Hika Border Patrol Supervisors Association
They did a great job!
- Jon Seabron Oceanside POA
[My Representative] was the best and if I ever need to call al lawyer again for anything, I'll be calling her.
- Robin Gonzalez Yolo Co. DSA
[My representative was] very quick to respond, helpful and professional. Thank you!
- Joseph Barrett LA Airport POA
I was very well represented by a professional. I felt well represented and got great advice.
- Jurell Snyder Oakland POA
My LDF representative had a power point presentation, which was extremely professional.
- James Stephenson Petaluma POA
Outstanding service. Thanks.
- Erick Gaunt Palos Verdes POA
- Shandon Murphy San Mateo POA
Great work! Thank you so much!
- Andrea Salas Sonoma County DSA
[My Representative] was great! Thank you.
- Robert Mickschl SAN DIEGO HARBOR P O A
From my initial call to LDF, to my "Thank You" email to (my attorney ) I had the best representation I could have hoped for. The "800" number call receptionists were very professional & understanding. (My Attorney's) office & staff kept me informed & updated. I am forever thankful to LDF & exceptional representation by ( my attorney ) & staff.
- Andrew Hill Statewide University PA
I have used this law firm for union related business for the last several years. It was a no brainer to call them for LDF.
- Clyde Williams San Diego Harbor POA
Thank you for all of the work related to my officer involved shooting case.
- David Heller Yolo County DSA
The charges against me, if sustained, would have likely ended my LE career. I was rightfully exonerated on all charges. I was well represented by [My Representative] and thank him for a job well done!!
- Evelyn Hooks Shasta CO PPOA
Thank God for the L.D.F.
- Kevin Hullquist Siskiyou Co. Correctional POA
[My representative] did a good job representing me. Kept me informed.
- Brendan Tinney UC Berkeley POA
[My representative] has represented me twice now and both times I have been very pleased with his thoroughness with handling my cases. I appreciate all what LDF and [my representative] have done for me.
- Diana Drummey Coronado POA
I so appreciated my LDF rep - his kindness and understanding re my case during an embarrassing and uncomfortable time - he was so caring.
- Juan Pascua, Jr. San Diego Co DSA
Very helpful and very informative!
- Kenneth Nelson Plumas Co SA
Good job. Thank you! [My representative] does an outstanding job representing the employees and seems to be very intimidating to the [County Management]. We like it this way!
- Noe Cordero San Diego POA
Thank you for your help. I feel very secure as you assisted me.
- Stephanie Haas Lyon Co SEA
When I first contacted LDF re: my case I was unsure of how well/poor I'd actually be represented. I was impressed beyond belief. From the timely responses from my attorney, his knowledge in my case, advising me what my rights were and where I stood. I felt like I was genuinely being protected from unwarranted and unfounded accusations and believe, as long as I am in the right, I have someone fighting for me. Thank you, Thank you.
- Brian Schopf Elk Grove POA
Keep up the good work.
- Patricia Goss San Anselmo POA
[My Representative] is fabulous! Thanks for all the exra work she did for me!
- Brent Teasley ERS/Reno PSAEA
[ My representative ] was bogged down with multiple cases when he represented me, but I feel he did an excellent job. I would not have wanted anyone else to represent me during a very troublesome time.
- Thomas E. Lorente III Bart POA
[My representative] did an excellent job! I would highly recommend him to any officer in need of LDF services.
- Carlos Gonzalez Oakland POA
Very well informed group.
- Ernest Marugg San Diego Deputy DA Association
The LDF responded immediately upon my request for counsel. LDF provided the best representative I could receive! When I called LDF for advice, I was given advice again immediately. Thank you LDF for your concern.