Tehachapi police chief responds to harassment claims

Tehachapi police chief responds to harassment claims »Play Video

TEHACHAPI, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX) — The city's police chief has responded in some measure to allegations of harassment and retaliation.

On New Year's Eve, a pair of officers filed a claim against the city. The city has 45 days to accept or reject the claim before the officers can move on with a lawsuit.

Officer Peter Graff says he started being mistreated after he reported a superior allegedly falsifying time sheets. Officer Rick Disney says his mistreatment began after he accused a senior officer of serving alcohol to underage police explorers.

Both are seeking $1.5 million in compensation for emotional distress and mental suffering.

Thursday afternoon, Chief Jeff Kermode released a statement expressing pride in his department and his officers, who he said "create a very positive working environment."

"Nevertheless, we take all allegations of misconduct seriously, whether generated internally or externally. We investigate misconduct allegations, in some circumstances with the assistance of independent investigators, and when allegations are substantiated, we take appropriate disciplinary action," the chief said.

Kermode said he wouldn't comment beyond the prepared statement.