A Palo Alto police captain who was the face of the division for a number of years as its spokesman declined Wednesday to remark about printed experiences that he was investigated for utilizing a racial slur when joking to a black officer.

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Capt. Zach Perron, who now serves because the police division’s coordinator of the Investigative Companies Division and was accused of claiming the N-word, informed this information group in an e mail  that inner investigations into police officer misconduct are confidential personnel issues protected underneath state legislation.

The investigation was referred to the town’s human sources division as an alternative of an impartial police auditor, successfully protecting the matter hidden from the general public and evading scrutiny.

Palo Alto is now reviewing its protocol for impartial police audits and plans to debate the modifications subsequent month when the auditor’s semi-annual report — which can embrace a abstract of the case — is launched.

“The case described is from a previous 12 months and has been dealt with as a personnel matter, and we don’t touch upon personnel issues,” Metropolis Supervisor Ed Shikada mentioned in a press release Wednesday. “Questions on course of and evaluation by the Unbiased Police Auditor are being evaluated, and shall be mentioned additional as soon as the auditor’s report is full.”

Former Palo Alto police Officer Marcus Barbour informed the Palo Alto Each day Publish that in January 2014, Perron made a joke utilizing the N-word after Barbour rescued a felon from the San Francisquito Creek.

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Barbour, who was sworn into the division in July 2013, jumped into the creek to retrieve the felon who had unsuccessfully tried to swim throughout at excessive tide to evade him. Barbour was awarded the division’s Medal of Valor for his actions.

When Barbour returned to the police station following the rescue, Perron allegedly made the remark to Barbour that “n***as don’t swim”, the Each day Publish reported.

The allegations weren’t investigated till early 2017, when a police agent realized about Perron’s remark and reported it to then-city supervisor Jim Keene and the Rev. Paul Bains, who serves because the division’s chaplain, in line with the newspaper.

The conclusions of that investigation are unknown, together with whether or not Perron confronted any disciplinary motion.

Barbour declined to remark for this story. He left the Palo Alto Police Division in 2017 to hitch the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Workplace, the place he turned the company’s newest Okay-9 handler. He was featured within the Mercury Information final fall after federal funding was used to accumulate Nala, a Labrador Retriever, as a part of a brand new transit safety element with the Valley Transportation Authority.

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Perron, who joined the Palo Alto Police Division in 1998, is the ninth highest paid metropolis worker, incomes a complete compensation of $228,000 final 12 months.

Whereas state legislation prohibits the discharge of police personnel issues to the general public, together with inner affairs investigations, the town’s impartial police auditors present the town council on a semi-annual foundation with a abstract of the circumstances they evaluation. The officers’ names are redacted from the experiences, however the experiences can be found to the general public on the town’s web site.

Referring a case like this to the town’s human sources division and bypassing the auditors, retains it out of public view.

Stephen Connolly, a Los Angeles lawyer contracted as the town’s impartial police auditor, mentioned Wednesday {that a} case matching the outline of the Perron accusations “fell exterior the 4 corners of the established protocol.”

Underneath that protocol, Connolly and his accomplice Michael Gennaco are tasked with reviewing the entire division’s inner affairs investigations and sure use of power circumstances, then making suggestions on additional investigation, processes and inclinations to the police chief.

4 or 5 circumstances over the past a number of years concerned officer-to-officer misconduct as an alternative of officer misconduct in opposition to the general public. Not one of the these circumstances have been referred to the impartial auditor, and as an alternative, have been reviewed by the town’s human sources division, Connolly mentioned in an interview Wednesday.

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Earlier than the racial slur case was delivered to his consideration final fall, Connolly mentioned he was unaware that some circumstances of officer misconduct have been despatched to the town’s human sources division for an investigation.

“That was not on our radar, however we’re glad it’s now,” Connolly mentioned in an interview. “Now the considering is that even these sorts of issues have a possible relevance that makes it acceptable for us to be reviewing them.”

As soon as knowledgeable of the case, the auditors spoke with the police chief and metropolis supervisor to replace the protocol and guarantee they’re reviewing the entire division’s inner affairs complaints, together with worker on worker misconduct, Connolly mentioned.

Following that call, the division offered the auditors with the current circumstances that have been dealt with by the town’s human sources division as an alternative of the police division, together with the racial slur investigation. The auditors are within the strategy of reviewing the circumstances and they are going to be included of their subsequent report, which shall be launched by the tip of June, Connolly mentioned.

Employees author Robert Salonga contributed to this report.

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