San Benito Police Officers Want Chief Fired
San Benito Police Chief George Gomez has been around for years. Community members say while other chiefs have come and gone he's stuck around.
Guadalupe Martinez said, "I don't think right now anybody else here in the Valley is qualified to be the chief of police for San Benito. He's very respectful he's, I'm going to say it in Spanish, te saluda (he says hi to you), he's friendly with the people, he says hi, he knows you and knows you by name that's why I think he's a good chief."
But some of his officers want him gone. They have written and submitted a letter to city commissioners asking for his removal.
They are upset that Captain Arnoldo Garcia was not fired when he refused to take a random drug test back in June. City policy states that those who refuse to comply with random testing face termination. Garcia was suspended with pay and not fired.
Officers want him gone too.
Martinez says Gomez could have made better choices, but disagrees with the action being taken.
"He's the supervisor and when you're a supervisor you have to do your job and sometimes it hurts but, I think he did bad in a sense, but not to fire him," Martinez said.
Joe Avila, former city employee and now run-off candidate for the city commission place two seat, says police officers will not disregard their duties as law-enforcers but does believe this creates a divide in the police department.
"Obviously it has created a divide, within the staff not only within the police department but the entire staff of San Benito. I'm not sure if it's favoritism, but treating one person different than any other staff member."
We contacted Chief Gomez and a police spokesperson but they referred the issue to City Attorney Janice Cassidy. We visited Cassidy's office but she was not available and did not return our calls.
We will keep you updated with this issue as it continues.
Reporting in San Benito, Daisy Martinez, News Center 23.