by Ed Lyon
In the early 20th century, unions were beneficial in that they pushed for safe working conditions and decent wages for the working class. The way our society has evolved, not all unions are what they seem. This seems to be especially true of police unions.
A prime example of a California police union far outliving its usefulness is an account unearthed by the San Gabriel Valley Tribune and Free Thought Project about how suspended El Monte City Police Detective Carlos Molina was honored as the city’s top cop for 2020.
Molina spent over a year focused on a single child abuse case in 2018-2019, working an additional $4,400 in overtime. His efforts yielded little work product. So little that he was suspended and placed on paid administrative leave pending disciplinary proceedings while another detective cleared the case in 44 days, sending two suspects to trial.
Even though Molina did not work a day in 2020, the city’s Police Officer Association (“POA”) named him “Officer of the Year for 2020” while he spent 19 months earning money for nothing (almost $205,000) and an award for free[loading] off the taxpayer’s dole.
He expressed appreciation at the award ceremony after he was given a glowing introduction by Detective Eric Walterscheid.
To many city officials—and even some cops—the award was an embarrassment. Mayor Jessica Ancona, supported by POA, refused to block the award. Sergeant Jaime Pitts characterized the display as an overt no-confidence statement against the city’s police chief, David Reynoso.
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