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UPDATED 11/11/09: Burbank Police Chief Tim Stehr to retire!

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Photo: FLLewis/A Writer’s Groove —Burbank Police Chief Tim Stehr

I don’t know if he was pushed or he volunteered, but Burbank Police Chief Tim Stehr is heading for the door. The announcement appeared a short while ago on the Burbank city website. It comes almost a week after that volatile council meeting where Councilman David Gordon called for an emergency action to consider putting Chief Stehr on administrative leave. His fellow council members balked and refused to consider the motion.

Last Friday afternoon, I published a post on this blog, “Time for serious change in Burbank,” calling for the police chief to step aside or to be put on administrative leave for the good of the BPD, the city, and its citizens. Stehr’s ability to lead has been severely damaged by the investigations, lawsuits, low morale, the suicide death of Sergeant Neil Thomas Gunn, Senior, and other problems in the department. The decision was slow in coming, but it was the right one. Here is the announcement from the Burbank website.

Burbank Police Chief to Retire
Posted Date: 11/9/2009 5:30 PM

Burbank Police Chief to Retire

 BURBANK, Calif. (November 9, 2009)– Burbank Police Chief Tim Stehr will officially step down from his post on December 31, 2009.

 “It has been my absolute privilege to serve as Chief in the City of Burbank,” says Stehr. “Our department is facing challenging times. The healing process will be a long one but I have tremendous confidence in the brave men and women of our department and the citizens of this community. As I prepare to retire, I wish to thank all those who made the department’s success possible.”

 Stehr joined the Burbank Police Department in 1978 as a cadet and served in a variety of roles before being named Chief in 2007.

 City Manager Michael Flad says an Interim Chief will assume duties no later than January 1stwith Chief Stehr assisting in the transition for 30-60 days.

UPDATE 7:52 p.m.

I spoke with Burbank Councilman David Gordon by phone a few minutes ago. Now that Police Chief Tim Stehr is leaving, Councilman Gordon says “…I am hopeful….  there will be new outside leadership coming in… to cast new independent view of the important issues facing our police department…”

New leadership with fresh ideas. I agree. That’s the kind of change that is needed in the Burbank Police Department and in city government as well.

UPDATE 11/11/09   Police Chief Tim Stehr speaks

In an opinion piece published last night on the Burbank Leader website, outgoing Burbank Police Chief Tim Stehr gives his reason for stepping down and comments on a number issues, including misconduct in the BPD.  Here is what the chief wrote:


I have decided to retire after a more than 31-year career with one of the most professional and top-quality law enforcement agencies in this state. This is an extremely difficult decision for me to leave this department, where I have had such a rich and rewarding career.

I have spent virtually my entire adult life here at the Burbank Police Department. I met my incredible wife here, her family and so many great people who have become lifelong friends.

I regret that I am prevented from fully commenting on the investigations and litigation that seem to be so consuming to the city, but I want to assure the community that the men and women of this department are totally committed to the safety of this city.

I would like to comment on something that seems to be misunderstood and misrepresented in the many public discussions of these issues, and that is the Police Department’s legal duty to investigate all complaints of misconduct.

When a citizen brings allegations involving the misconduct of a Burbank police officer to the attention of the Burbank Police Department, the Police Department is mandated by law to conduct an administrative investigation. When a citizen’s accusation of misconduct is so egregious that if true, it would constitute criminal misconduct, the Police Department refers that accusation to an independent law enforcement agency to conduct a criminal investigation. Under those circumstances, the police officer is placed on administrative leave, with full pay, pending the outcome of the administrative investigation, and possibly the criminal investigation.

Currently, one or more citizens have accused several Burbank officers of misconduct. Those accusations are under administrative investigation by an independent investigator hired by the Burbank Police Department, with the approval of the City Council. In addition, the Burbank Police Department referred the accusations of misconduct to an outside law enforcement agency.

I believe that my continued service here is a distraction that the city and the department do not need, and that is why I announced my retirement. I am proud of my record of service to this community at every step of my career, from cadet all the way to chief.

As chief, I do not regret the actions I took to investigate complaints of misconduct, to refer the complaints to an outside agency for criminal investigation, and to punish those who were found to have acted inappropriately. The Burbank community deserves nothing less than a full and complete investigation of all allegations of misconduct. I have acted at all times with the full knowledge of, direction and advice from the special outside counsel and investigator appointed for this purpose by the City Council.

I have many great memories and career accomplishments that I am very proud of. I want to thank the city manager for giving me the opportunity to serve this department as chief, and I hope only the very best future for this department and this city.

I especially want to thank my incredible family, my wife, Barbara, my children, Cory and Jessica, my in-laws, extended family and friends who have provided me with unconditional love and support throughout my entire career. 


MORE COMMENTS from Chief Stehr on his departure and reaction from the Burbank Police Officer’s Association President, Detective Mike Parrinello, in an article by Burbank Leader reporter Christopher Cadelago, which is also posted on the newspaper’s website.

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40 Responses to UPDATED 11/11/09: Burbank Police Chief Tim Stehr to retire!

  1. DixieFlyer Tuesday, November 10, 2009 at 2:22 am #

    Another phony toilet paper press release.
    Channel Seven ABC has video at 11pm of Dave GOLONSKI and Dr. GORDON commenting.
    The BPOA “vote of NO Confidence” is still scheduled for 6:30 p.m. on Thursday @ Burbank Holiday Inn.
    No need for Tim to hangout for ONE extra day.

  2. Jim C. Tuesday, November 10, 2009 at 5:16 am #

    It looked like Golonski on the tube, but it sure sounded like Gordon! Maybe they got the soundtrack mixed up. Or Golonski’s a major hypo-crite.

  3. Bsf Tuesday, November 10, 2009 at 11:55 am #

    Burbank Police Chief resigns

  4. Buzzie9 Tuesday, November 10, 2009 at 12:19 pm #

    Where is the great and powerfull Mayor and Vice Mayor during all of this ?

    Could they be waiting for some public relations firm to hand them something to read badly or what ?

    You would think the Mayor and Vice Mayor would be in the forfront with all of these problems but not in Burbank. What good are those two anyway.

  5. Going Nuts Tuesday, November 10, 2009 at 12:28 pm #

    The mayor won’t make a statement because remember last tuesday “There is no evidence of an emergency”. Then why the sudden retirement?

    Everytime the Mayor makes a statement Golonski has to write it up and we all saw how bad that went the last time they put their heads together.

    I seem to remember a few of the negative posters on this blog that said “The chief won’t retire!” Seems like all the naysayers keep coming up short.

    The real question is who will be the interim chief? If it is not somone from the outside that Barlow can’t control, then nothing will change.

  6. JK Tuesday, November 10, 2009 at 1:29 pm #

    The Police Chief retires or not ?

  7. Fronnie Tuesday, November 10, 2009 at 2:17 pm #

    There is already a lot of talk about who will be the interim chief. I’m hoping it will be someone from the outside who is not related to anyone in the Burbank Police Department or city government!

    Oh, got an e-mail about a Dinner Night Out Fundraiser tonight for Sgt. Gunn’s family. It’s at Barney’s Beanery, 250 N. First Street in Burbank, between 5-8 p.m. 25 percent of all proceeds will go to a scholarship fund for Sgt. Gunn’s grandchildren. If you go, be sure to mention the Gunn family to your server.

    The event is being sponsored by the Burbank Police Officer’s Association.

  8. JK Tuesday, November 10, 2009 at 2:19 pm #

    More news coverage on the sudden retirement of Police Chief Tim Stehr

  9. Incognito Tuesday, November 10, 2009 at 9:10 pm #

    Thank you to the citizens of this community for finally pressuring the council. Dr. Gordon kudos to you for being the firm voice we needed on the 3rd and respecting the Gunn family.

    Let’s vote the 4 other yo-yo’s out “Vote of NO Confidence” and help this city move forward and heal.

    Going Nuts – you are so right on! If it is not someone from outside, we are back to square one with even bigger problems and larger expenses. Word has it that Larry Koch is going to be the interim chief, so do the math, he gets retirement pay, plus his new pay for standing in? Heck, I will take that deal any time of the day.

    A fresh person, who has NO ties and owes no one in the halls any favors or special privileges, what a concept! Is that too much to ask for.

    Fronnie – thank you for the info. Visiting many sites and everyone is talking about this.

  10. Cardinal Mahoney Wednesday, November 11, 2009 at 2:09 am #

    Incognito: Your not happy with what we pay you?

  11. DixieFlyer Wednesday, November 11, 2009 at 2:53 am #

    Say “Good Night”, Cardinal Mahoney–like a good “little” boy.

  12. Fronnie Wednesday, November 11, 2009 at 3:27 am #

    The Burbank City Council did not meet Tuesday night, but a special meeting is set for this Thursday at 5 p.m. Not much listed in the brief agenda to explain why. Perhaps, city officials are still working on some kind of announcement or plan or statement.

    Here’s the link to the city council agenda for November 12

  13. Pepper Wednesday, November 11, 2009 at 12:37 pm #

    Looking at the link you have Miss Lewis looks like they are planning to talk about all of these police officer lawsuits. Maybe they will make settlement offers and try to start apologizing for everything that has happened. We can hope that’s what they will do anyway.

  14. Incognito Wednesday, November 11, 2009 at 1:51 pm #

    Cardinal – I don’t know where you get that you pay me? I don’t work for the city. Read my words carefully, I for one don’t mince my words, but I do choose them very carefully.

    Thank you Dixie.

    Last Tuesday, we were told the city did not have an Emergency ( DG, AR, mainly), but now they are calling for an emergency meeting on Thursday? It will be interesting, especially that they are only discussing 3 of the 7 cases. What is up their sleeves, is all I can wonder.

  15. Flippification Wednesday, November 11, 2009 at 4:31 pm #

    Nice letter from Chief Stehr but has anyone ever heard a difinite answer to the question is the chief under investigation in any of these many investigations ?

    I have yet to hear a definitive no he is not under investigation from anywhere and am curious why that is.

  16. Going Nuts Wednesday, November 11, 2009 at 4:35 pm #


    They are not going to apologize for anything. Remember there still is not a problem. Do you think Flad will apologize for his comments to Taylor listed in the lawsuit filing?

    Don’t fall for this stunt by the chief, who was scheduled to retire. A week ago the city council did not even see a problem. I like the chief’s message, it’s a tear jerker. Except he leaves out one major point…HE IS UNDER INVESTIGATION BY THE FBI! From what I hear, all of the lawsuits name Chief Stehr in misconduct and violations of the law…who is going to investigate those complaints chief? The city?

    Get some new people in here and clean house…stop the PR games, and then mabye we will see something.

  17. Richard Wednesday, November 11, 2009 at 4:39 pm #

    Every day this whole thing gets worse. I doubt any of us have heard the most shocking things that have been going on yet either.

    It’s sweet to hear the council say what does the chief have to do with all of it. After all I am guessing we pay him a ton of money to take care of business at the Police station. But hey, when everything get’s shocking what does he have to do with it right ?

    Most of the council is the same way. Don’t we vote them in to run the city ? But when everything gets really shocking they say we don’t know anything and what do we have to do with it all ?

    Add a personal responsibility problem to all the other problems.

  18. Fronnie Wednesday, November 11, 2009 at 5:25 pm #


    Like a snowball rolling down a hillside; the scandal keeps getting bigger and bigger. That’s why it is so hard to believe city officials who say they don’t see the severity of the problem or the need for emergency action. They must have their heads in the sand or in the clouds.

    Example, Mayor Gary Bric gave his state of the city address on Monday. The same day Police Chief Stehr announced his retirement because in his words, ” my continued service here is a distraction that the city and the department do not need…”

    However in his speech, Mayor Bric painted a rosy picture of the city and apparently did not mention the troubled police department, the lawsuits, the investigations, or the growing scandal.

  19. Tim Wednesday, November 11, 2009 at 5:36 pm #

    Fronnie Lewis~

    Mayor Bric comes from the the school that says if you refuse to see a problem then there is no problem. He reminds me of the little kid that covers his eyes and honestly believes that because he can’t see you that means you can’t see him either. He is living in a fuzzy fantasy world.

  20. Tim Wednesday, November 11, 2009 at 5:39 pm #

    Flippification ~

    Nope I have never even heard Mayor Bric make the statement that the chief is not under any investigation himself. I have no idea if he is but it is beyond strange that they have never made a statement saying he isn’t if infact he is not.

  21. the Duck Wednesday, November 11, 2009 at 7:03 pm #

    The city councils story really just doesn’t wash at this point, there are just to many contradictions.

    Think about this for a minute. Remember when Mayor Bric read his statement about all of this police stuff ? One of the things he said was:
    “As a result of allegations prior to these lawsuits
    a number of investigations have been initiated
    both by the department and by outside entities
    at the invitation of the department and with the
    cooperation of the city”
    The FBI is an outside entity and we have been told they are investigating. In his statement Mayor Bric said the outside entities were under the invitation of the department but wait on the news Mayor Bric said that the city didn’t know where the FBI came from they just showed up one day. So which is it were they invited or did they just show up ?

    Next question, just what is the FBI investigating ? Is it possible they are investigating everything ? I doubt it because the Sheriffs we are told are also investigating. So they must both be investigating different things.

    We are also told the city is investigating. So what are they investigating ? The same things as the FBI and the Sheriffs ?

    Then you have the lawsuits. Are the FBI or Sheriffs or city investigating the lawsuits ?

    It looks more and more to me like there are lots of things to investigate. I am not at all convinced that everything we are hearing about is being investigated because everyday we hear about something else that needs to be investigated.

    The city council seems to say everything is being investigated but honestly if you think about it that really is impossible.


  22. Incognito Wednesday, November 11, 2009 at 8:02 pm #

    The Duck, you are so right on! I have been jumping up & down asking for explanations to their contradicting statements, just as you quoted the mayor’s.

    Also, Golonski alleged last week that we have NO emergency that needs handling, but 6 days later he is on the news telling the reporter that it is long over due?

    Again to Golonski, why is he speaking, last I knew it was Bric, who is the current mayor of our city?

    Not quite sure how many investigations are going on right now, but the FBI is looking in 2 different investigations now. 1) the allegations of excessive force, etc., which all officers are being looked into, just part of standard practice and 2) the corruption within the dept. But they only want you to believe that a selective few have received the subpoena’s, depending on which suit you are addressing, but notice how they have Failed to clarify this. The Sheriff’s is another investigation going on separate to the FBI and not sure why the city is investigating what? A day late and a dollar short, but hundreds of thousands of our tax payers dollars being paid on attorney’s, that are defending allegedly bogus suits?

    Lastly, again you are correct. NOT a one person from hierarchy has proclaimed the innocence of the chief or mentioned his involvement. I don’t have all the facts of course, but it appears that he is a major part of the problem and many of the suits name him as the culprit, including the tragic loss of Sgt. Gunn.

    As I have stated before, I am only interested in getting to the truth and healing the community and especially the dept. BUT!!! we can Never condone this type of behavior no matter what fraction of it is true. It is not acceptable. “A House Divided, Can NOT Stand” Pres- Abe Lincoln.

  23. JK Thursday, November 12, 2009 at 8:12 pm #

    Let us know how you rate the job performance of the city council. You are only allowed to vote once.

  24. Incognito Friday, November 13, 2009 at 1:04 am #

    Word has it that the BPOA is presenting a vote of No Confidence. The majority present today, have spoken and a hand full of retiree’s have agreed (although their vote does not count, it makes an impact).

    Council members you better be prepared to take immediate action our Men/Ladies in Blue have spoken and your incompetence will no longer be tolerated.

  25. DixieFlyer Friday, November 13, 2009 at 1:56 am #

    Thanks for the timely info.

  26. Incognito Friday, November 13, 2009 at 2:02 am #

    We should BE voting No Confidence for Dr. Gordo. He’s the ONE that is being investigated by the DA’s office, yet HE feels he is the moral compass of the city. Our City must mend from all of the divides. Gotta go, my Mom needs the telephone line.

    With a love that’s so onesided
    There’s no chance at all
    The walls have got to fall

  27. tlc Friday, November 13, 2009 at 2:09 am #



  28. JK Friday, November 13, 2009 at 3:43 am #

    Let us know how you evaluate the job performance of the Burbank City Council. You can ony vote once!

  29. Fronnie Friday, November 13, 2009 at 1:13 pm #

    I’m hearing the majority voted “no confidence” in Police Chief Tim Stehr at the Burbank Police Officer’s Association meeting last night. A number of commenters here have said the same thing.

    Stehr has stated publicly, in that Leader opinion piece, that “…his continued service here is a distraction that the city and the department do not need…”

    So Burbank officials like City Manager Mike Flad need to take action to make the chief retire immediately. I’ve heard the chief is out of town on vacation right now. There really isn’t a good reason for the chief to come back to the BPD, except to pick up his personal belongings.

  30. bsf Friday, November 13, 2009 at 3:01 pm #

    Mayor Bric says he needs to hear from the Burbank Police Officers Association. He has now heard with the vote of no confidence so what will he do now ?

  31. Outflank Friday, November 13, 2009 at 4:21 pm #

    Incognito (Impostor) – grow up and get the hell out of our sites. Did I not tell you in the other site, that you need a good belting!

    Incognito #1 – I know the replies from this idiot do not belong to you, the writing is the telling tale.

    Fronnie, you are so right on. Why would he return to work, what is he trying to prove? Nothing he does now will remedy the situation and the best thing he can do is leave. The FBI, already has tons of documents, so no point in running the shredder, that would be a major, no, no.

    While this is no way to step down, he owes it to his health and the well being of the dept.

    Word also, has it that the Dave G & M.Flad had a meeting at Lundgren Park on Saturday? What were they discussing? You guy’s should know that we are all watching your every moves and actions.

    “A coward dies a thousand times, a Hero dies, but once”

  32. Fronnie Friday, November 13, 2009 at 4:24 pm #


    Good question. Let’s see how Mayor Bric reacts to the BPOA vote. Here’s an opportunity for the mayor to follow through or ah, stumble and drop the ball again.

  33. Stbs Friday, November 13, 2009 at 4:53 pm #

    Not sure what all the facts are. Everyday more facts come out tho. If anybody was unsure if the chief of police was part of the solution or part of the problem this vote by the cops cinches it for me. He retired good but he doesn’t need to do the cops any favors by hanging around.

  34. Edward Friday, November 13, 2009 at 5:24 pm #

    How the mayor reacts to the vote, the mayor is probably having an anxiety attack over the vote.

  35. Outflank Friday, November 13, 2009 at 5:51 pm #

    Not very impressive, but they finally posted the report from last nights vote of No Confidence. It’s a must read, so that you get a good laugh out of the whole situation. We have heard about 91 present, not including the retiree’s, but the Leader quotes, not even 1/2?

    D. Golonski, as always, not sure where he wants to be, when times are tough.

    Mayor – pushing it off to the City Manager.

    Next, who is going to grow a pair and speak up!


  36. Alan Friday, November 13, 2009 at 8:28 pm #

    The police officers are not the only ones suffering as a result of this mess. The citizens of Burbank are going to pay the biggest price. No matter who is right or wrong, there is obviously a problem. The blame game will not fix it!

    The city council will obviously not step up and take control so I think people need to call or write the Attorey General and try to get some help down here!!!

    If that doesn’t work is time to move.

  37. Boss Saturday, November 14, 2009 at 12:05 pm #

    The thing that is just insane in all of this is that the same people who are responsible for everything are investigating it and suposedly correcting it. Come on they helped or at least allowed it to be created in the first place and they are doing business as usual so how capable are they at correcting it all ?

  38. the Duck Saturday, November 14, 2009 at 6:00 pm #

    Hey Boss that is exactly one of the problems. The same people who are the problem get to review investigations and decide what to do with the information from what I hear. It’s a pack of wolves guarding the hen house at this point.

  39. 10-7 Saturday, November 21, 2009 at 6:53 pm #

    Though some bloggers here may have some SPECIFIC facts, most are repeating and enhacing what they hear and/or read. We all know some of the facts but most probably none of us know all of the facts. Unless you’re an agent with the FBI or an investigator with LASO or the DA, we don’t have the specifics about what they’ve uncovered. About the only thing all of us can assume to be correct is the agregious lack of leadership displayed at the highest levels of the city and the department.

    Regardless of his actions, and for the survival of the BPD, Stehr must be replaced immediately by a law enforcement officer with NO ties to the city. Additionally, and until a new chief is selected, whoever is brought in to take over the department should be given the authority to select, in turn, someone he or she trusts as a second in command.

    The time of making excuses is over. Continuing this lack of leadership, I’m afraid, could be the catalist leading to disbanding the BPD and bringing in the sheriffs.


  40. grant gillies Saturday, November 21, 2009 at 9:20 pm #

    I would like to leave tiny Tim one thing, a white feather to remind him of the gutless leader that he was and reminder it was his men that wanted him to go. I feel sorry for his family as they have to look at this little excuse of a human being every day. If Tim had any guts he would fall on his sword but he has not guts, find a small hole Tim and crawl into it, that’s just you.

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