Opinion » Shredder

Maybe they'll learn


As of this printing, I’m officially resigning … quote, unquote. Though myself and New Times are contractually prohibited from discussing the details, my attorney advised that I can disclose the following facts.

• It is a quote, unquote felony to assault a mailman.

• Though my mailman places Pottery Barn catalogs in my mailbox, he does not have any affiliation with the company.

• It is a felony to crack your mailman over the head with a sandalwood vase.

• A new mailman has been assigned to my block.

• I am still receiving Pottery Barn catalogs.

On the plus side, my early resignment—I just mashed up retirement and resign—means I have plenty of time to think about what I did. New Times also gave me a massive wad of cash on the grounds that I’ll tuck away in the shadows, and that’s after 10 months of paid vacation. Er, I mean quote, unquote administrative leave.

Over the past few months I’ve made amends. I’ve also caught up with all seven seasons of Golden Girls and reacquainted my ass with my favorite armchair.

Being disgraced never felt so good. It’s a sweet deal, without a doubt.

Resignations can tidy up all sorts of lingering loose ends. That’s probably why Jeffry Bromby “resigned” from the Paso Robles Police Department (see this week’s cover story). You might think he left the department because some people thought he robbed an 89-year-old man. Or that plenty of people in Paso Robles are scared they might get on the wrong side of a cop rampaging around the city like a rhinoceros with a chip on its shoulder. You might even think it had something to do with the citizen complaints filed against a cop who thinks it’s OK to dive-tackle a 21-year-old accused of stealing a bottle of water.

Seriously, who’s a bigger threat to society: the girl who allegedly stole a bottle of water, or the guy who swerves his cop car into oncoming traffic’s left turn lane in his haste to make the scene? But I digress, according to my word-of-the-day toilet paper. I was previously ranting about the numerous reasons the Paso Robles Police Department, in my opinion, should have dismissed Bromby.

But Bromby resigned after 10 months of leave, and was handed a whopping $75,000 paycheck—give or take—for what was essentially a 10-month vacation. Bravo, Bromby. I’d personally like to invite you to be the keynote speaker at my monthly “Armchair-Lovin’-Taking-Advantage-of-the-System-So-I-Can-Sit-On-My-Rotund-Ass-and-Eat-Eclairs Club.” And bravo to you, Paso Robles Police Department, for being the kind of employer that not only pays your employees handsomely when they work, but also pays generously when they don’t. And looks the other way when they happen to rough people up on their whole “serve and protect” beat.

I know you’re jointly pleading ignorance and/or that your hands were tied by regulations and such. I’m calling BS, mostly because I respect you too much to believe that you had so little clue what was going on with one of your very own boys in blue. I’ve seen torture sequences in horror films that were less disturbing than that video of Rodia Monterrosobragg pleading to be let up from the hot pavement while Bromby self-righteously chastised her for stealing a bottle of water, telling her “maybe she’ll learn.” Seems to me there are lessons to be learned from this, but the people who should have their noses to the grindstone are all so busy trying to protect their own asses they don’t even realize it. I’m looking at you, Paso Robles Police Department and District Attorney Gerald Shea. And Bromby, of course.

Now, if any ordinary person—you or me—was accused of the same behavior, we’d probably spend a night in the county jail and smile pretty for a complimentary photo that would later be printed in the local rag. Then the DA, BFF to our stalwart boys and girls in blue, would probably charge us with a crime and we’d spend the next year or so of our lives trying to stay out of jail.

I’ve been getting the message loud and clear lately that we are not special—they are. Two San Luis Obispo cops got pinched at the border with a bunch of Mexican pharmaceuticals. They got 11 months of administrative leave vacation, raking in $305,228 for their yearlong vacation, and eventually a slap on the wrist. No jail time.

A SLO firefighter was accused of kicking the shit out of someone in a bar bathroom and he wasn’t arrested until New Times put out an embarrassing article.

Atascadero Police Chief Jim Mulhall quote unquote retired from the department but got a $100,000-plus send off and had to sign an agreement saying he wouldn’t sue. What’s that about? Who knows! And that’s the point.

What I take away from all this is that cops, and sometimes firefighters, seem to think they’re above the laws we pay them handsomely to enforce. And when something goes wrong—they tazer or beat the crap out of someone or hold them down on sizzling ground until their arms burn—and we manage to wade through all their paperwork to get the video to prove it, they get to sit behind their desks with zipped lips, hiding behind oft-cited laws about personnel protection.

We all make mistakes. I’ve made amends for mine; in the next four to eight weeks, when my former mailman can chew and swallow again, I’ll send a fruit basket. I’m not sure what it’s going to take for law enforcement agencies to regain the public’s trust. An apology might be a good place to start. 

Shredder’s done some dumb stuff, but never cop-level-stupid. Send comments to shredder@newtimesslo.com.

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