BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — Two former sheriff’s deputies are the first in Kern County who possibly could lose their police powers under a new law intended disbar or decertify police officers involved in serious misconduct.
The names of former KCSO Lt. David Hubbard and former detentions deputy Brandon Michael Lawrence were added to a public state decertification list adminstered by POST, the Peace Officers Standards and Training Commission.
According to the POST site, Hubbard is temporarily suspended for “Abuse of Power.” No other reason is listed for his suspension. Hubbard worked for KCSO from April 2007 to August 2022.
The suspensions could last up to three years before POST commission makes a final determination to decertify a peace officer.
“This isn’t something we can speak on,” said KCSO spokesperson Lori Meza. “Personnel issues are protected by state law.”
Three calls Wednesday to Hubbard have not been returned.
Lawrence’s attorney, Gabe Godinez, said Wednesday his client has “moved forward with his life” and had no comment on the POST action.
Hubbard resigned and took a new job as a Senior District Attorney investigator after he left the sheriff’s office. He still holds that position.
Assistant District Attorney Joseph Kinzel emphasized that Hubbard’s temporary suspension status does not necessarily mean Hubbard will permanently lose his powers as a peace officer.
But, Kinzel said, Hubbard “cannot go out and arrest people.” Kinzel said Hubbard’s current assignment does not require the use of peace officer status and is doing mainly administrative tasks.
Kinzel said the prosecutor’s office was aware of Hubbard’s status with the sheriff’s department when he was hired as a DA investigator.
“Mr. Hubbard was forthright in presenting the issues that may cause action to be taken by POST upon his POST certificate status under the new law,” Kinzel said in an email. “In consideration of the potential for POST investigation and possible action against his certificates as well as the entirety of his career of service, Mr. Hubbard was determined to be a qualified candidate and was accepted as a lateral transfer from the Sheriff’s department.”
Kinzel wrote that no “special position” was created to keep Hubbard employed at the DA’s office during his temporary suspension.
Hubbard was well-known during his tenure with KCSO and involved in community affairs, joining other officers in delivering Christmas baskets to needy families. In June 2021, he was awarded the Academy Class 2021-22 Instructor Award.
Brandon Michael Lawrence was a KCSO detentions deputy who was sentenced in 2021 to six months in jail for having sex with inmates at the Lerdo jail.
Lawrence was convicted on several felony counts.
As of January 1, SB-2 creates the Peace Officer Standards Accountability Division within the commission to review investigations conducted by law enforcement agencies and to conduct additional investigations into serious misconduct that may provide grounds for suspension or revocation of a peace officer’s certification.