Lompoc Police Chief Patrick Walsh has been on the job for about a month and now has a third officer who’s been criminally charged this year while off-duty.
29 year old Lompoc Police Detective Matthew Hill was arrested and charged with physically assaulting his girlfriend in a Vandenberg Village home Sunday morning.
The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department says it responded to a call from a neighbor about a domestic dispute.
“We work at the will of the people, and they need to trust us, so we’re going to take it very seriously”, Chief Walsh said Monday night, “I think the law is the law and everybody should be held to the same, its just the way it is, and you are right, they are human, they work very hard, there are a lot of stresses, we ask them to do more with less, it can be taxing.”
Last May Lompoc Police Sgt. Joseph Stetz was arrested and and charged with making criminal threats and felony vandalism.
In March Lompoc Police Officer David Garcia was arrested for driving under the influence.
“We take an oath to live our life unsullied, and we have our own set of standards here and they are all policies that all of the officers know they have to follow”, Chief Walsh says, “whether that’s considered higher standard than most then maybe it is.”
We wanted to know what you think about off-duty law enforcement officers and their conduct when not on the job, should they be held to a higher standard than the rest of us?
“They are supposed to be the ones to show us how we are supposed to act”, said one woman we interviewed randomly on the street.
“Because they are a figure for the public they really should be held to a higher standard”, added another woman.
“They have lives like the rest of us do”, another woman said, “everybody should be held accountable for their actions”, added another.
“In my eyes they should be held accountable more because they are public servants”, said one man.
Lompoc Police say Detective Matthew Hill has been with the department for about five years and is now on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of the criminal case against him and an internal Lompoc Police Department investigation.
Domestic Violence Solutions for Santa Barbara County operates emergency, safe shelters and 24 hour crisis support and counseling phones lines:
Santa Barbara (805) 964-5245
Santa Maria (805) 925-2160
Santa Ynez (805) 686-4390
Lompoc (805) 733-0965
For more information about Domestic Violence Solutions in Santa Barbara County go to www.dvsolutions.org