As of November 7, the City of Tulare is potentially spending more than $37,000 per month on police personnel who are not currently working, having been placed on paid administrative leave pending investigations. The sum includes their salaries and benefits, but does not include any additional pay, which may be paid to Acting Police Chief Barry Jones, or other additional overtime pay of others in the department.
Police Chief Wes Hensley was placed on leave by City Manager Joe Carlini some seven weeks ago. His status remains pending investigation, and it is unclear if the investigation has even started.
Jones was named acting chief by Carlini at the time of Hensley being placed on leave. Jones is actually the Tulare PD investigations captain and is the longest serving captain within the department, which is why Carlini placed him in charge.
On Tuesday, Capt. Fred Yncla and Lt. Jerod Boatman were also placed on leave – an apparent coincidence, as they were not placed on leave for the same reason(s), Carlini said. According to Carlini, he and Jones discussed situations surrounding Yncla and Boatman, with Carlini deciding Jones should place them on leave status.
“Stuff like this does have an effect on morale,” Jones said, “but I want to stress this will not hinder patrol, or change in anyway [the duties of the department].”
There are more than 75 sworn police officers serving the city and safety is their Number 1 priority, Jones said. The department is currently looking to hire additional officers which has nothing to do with the three officials being out on leave, but rather with other officers who have elected to leave, he said.
Henlsey, Yncla and Boatman have been placed on leave for personnel matters, which remain confidential.
“It’s a process,” Carlini said. “It takes time for investigation.”
Carlini was named permanent city manager of Tulare earlier this year. He had served the city’s public works department for the prior four years.
As city manager, he has 355 employees under him and serves 63,000 citizens, he said.
“If it’s something we need to investigate, I need to investigate,” he said, “I did that as public works director and I do it as city manager.
“I don’t do things on a whim. I am very thorough. I think things out and then make decisions.
“The citizens need to be patient for the investigations to take place.
“Resolutions will be made, and I will stick by those resolutions,” he said.
Council members have expressed they are not at liberty to discuss the issues regarding the police personnel on leave.
Any further questions have been referred to the city’s attorney, Heather Phillips. Phillips returned a phone call leaving a message saying these are private personnel management issues and she could not comment any further. She did confirm, in the past, Chief Hensley’s situation as personnel in nature and not criminal. While Yncla’s and Boatman’s situations are also deemed personnel, per Carlini, it is not yet confirmed that there is nothing criminal in play.
Hensley has served the department for 26 years and was promoted to chief in the summer of 2015. Yncla and Boatman have both served in the department for around 17 years – Yncla being promoted to captain in the spring of 2015; Boatman, promoted to lieutenant also in the spring of 2015, was named Officer of the Year for 2008.