Five days after news broke about a suspected DUI, Tulare Police Chief Jerry Breckinridge resigned. His resignation will be in effect on November 13. On Tuesday, October 6, two hours before the regularly scheduled Tulare City Council meeting, the City of Tulare along with Breckinridge released a joint statement announcing his resignation. Both Mayor David Macedo and Vice Mayor Carlton Jones were absent during the city council meeting and the subject of Breckinridge’s resignation was not discussed.
Breckinridge stated at the time of his resignation, “In recent months, I have focused on personal matters requiring my immediate and undivided attention, I am thankful to the City for supporting my wish and right to privacy throughout this time. It is with mixed feelings that I bring this chapter in life to a close and announce my resignation from the Tulare Police Department, effective November 13, 2015. I thank city administration, city residents, and members of the police department for allowing me to serve the community of Tulare for over 26 years.”
In the October 1, Valley Voice it was reported that Breckinridge was allegedly pulled over for a DUI at the end of May and was taken home instead of arrested. It was also alleged that a domestic abuse case in March of last year was not fully investigated.
In a comment on the Valley Voice’s website, Vice-Mayor Jones said that, for his part, he believes that some or all of the allegations may be true, posting that “As a citizen I think Jerry mad[e] a huge mistake and it’s being swept under the rug I think other officers know the truth.”
Breckinridge’s resignation will put an end to nearly six months of paid administrative leave. He served on the Tulare Police force for 26 years and was police chief since 2008. Breckinridge had been lauded for his public service and his tenure as the chief of police. The discontent originates not from his service to Tulare, but from his preferential treatment and the citizens of Tulare not being told the truth.
As reported May 29 by KSEE, Tulare City Manager Don Dorman said, “It’s a personnel matter so we have no comment one way or the other.”
This left many Tulare residents to wonder what’s going on with Breckinridge.
KSEE reported further, “Dorman wouldn’t confirm if the chief is on administrative leave, only stating he’s been “’unavailable.’”
A month later Dorman finally revealed that Breckinridge was on paid administrative leave.
In regard to the alleged DUI, Dorman told KSEE back in May, “We don’t even know what happened so it’s impossible to say whether it affects the city or not.” Concerning the domestic abuse, Dorman added, “That was fully investigated by the Sheriff’s Dept., by the District Attorney, we internally investigated… reviewed facts and evidence and found there was no basis to file a criminal complaint. There was no basis for taking any action in that matter.”
Capt. Wes Hensley was named the Interim Police Chief during Breckinridge’s administrative leave and will stay at the helm while the city searches for a permanent replacement. While the Valley Voice was contacted by at least one outsider with a lifetime of law enforcement experience regarding the position, Tulare City Mayor David Macedo has expressed a desire to hire a police chief in-house.