San Luis Obispo County has fired back at former sheriff’s sergeant Dale Strobridge, alleging that a lawsuit he filed is not only baseless, but that he inappropriately accessed private files on personnel data and internal affairs investigations.
Strobridge, formerly a sergeant with the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Department and the past head of the Deputy Sheriff’s Association, was fired on Feb. 25, 2011. He claims the county fired him in retaliation against his reports of department misconduct. He filed a complaint with the SLO Superior Court on March 13 of this year.
The county filed its response to the complaint April 16, and the SLO County Counsel’s Office distributed that response to area media. According to the county, Strobridge didn’t alert county officials that there were easily accessible personnel files on the department’s network—as he claims in his complaint—but rather he was downloading private personnel information “for his personal use without authority, approval, or knowledge of the Sheriff’s Office in violation of both the Sheriff’s Office policies and the law.”
The county’s response alleges Strobridge was the subject of an internal affairs investigation for illegally downloading such information and he was subsequently fired.
Specifically, the county alleges Strobridge downloaded personnel files, used those files for his own benefit in a grievance he filed against the department, and that he failed to notify Human Resources he had access to such information.
Strobridge, who has not yet listed an attorney in court documents, didn’t respond to a call for comment before press time.
Strobridge is also appealing his termination through the county’s quasi-judicial channels. The lawsuit is scheduled for a case management conference with SLO Superior Court Judge Charles Crandall on July 17.