Troubled Central Valley Police Chief Scot Kimble

BAKERSFIELD — When Scot Kimble wanted to fix up and sell a house he owned in Southern California, the small-town Central Valley police chief didn’t hire a contractor.

Instead, he sent one of his officers to San Bernardino County with a tool belt instead of a holster to remodel his home, according to the Kern County District Attorney, and then doctored city payroll records to use public money to pay for the work.

Scot Kimble 

On Friday, the veteran lawman pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor charge connected to the allegations, first exposed last fall in “California’s Criminal Cops,” an investigative series from a coalition of news organizations coordinated by the Bay Area News Group.

The report found more than 80 officers with criminal convictions, including everything from DUI to fraud to manslaughter, still working in law enforcement in California, which is one of only five states that does nothing to revoke the badges of problem cops — even when they break the law.

But Kimble won’t be keeping his job as the city of Arvin’s Police Chief. As part of the plea deal, he agreed to resign effective March 13.

”Today’s conviction makes clear that Kimble’s actions in this case make him unfit for duty as a chief of police in our community,” Kern County District Attorney Cynthia Zimmer said in a news release after a short hearing in which Kimble’s lawyer said he had agreed to resign as part of a plea deal.

The charges against Kimble come less than a year after he was sworn in as police chief in Arvin, just southeast of Bakersfield. But they date back to his time leading the troubled police department in nearby McFarland, where the news coalition’s investigation found one out of every five officers had been previously convicted of a crime, fired or sued for misconduct.

Before now, Kimble had not faced criminal charges, but he had been forced out of at least two jobs in a 30-year career with at least eight law enforcement agencies in which documents obtained by the Investigative Reporting Program at UC Berkeley found he faced a series of complaints.  “He’s like that black cat that has nine lives,” one of his former officers in McFarland, Freddy Ramirez, said of Kimble in an interview last summer.

Check back for more on this developing story.

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