The findings from a months-long investigative report reveal the City of McFarland has a history of hiring police officers with questionable pasts.
The report found McFarland hired officers who had previously been fired from other departments, or who had been convicted of a crime.
Titled “Second Chance PD. One California town’s history of hiring cops with troubling pasts,” the report was conducted in partnership between news organizations and the Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism.
It found “one of every five officers who worked at the mcfarland police department in the last decade — 16 in total — had been previously fired, sued for misconduct or convicted of a crime — including two of its most recent police chiefs.”
“They hired a cop investigated in an FBI child porn probe, and another caught up in an LAPD burglary ring. They gave a job to an officer who filed a bogus insurance claim for a car his friends dumped in mexico. And they brought in a cop with a conviction for pulling a gun on his stepdaughter’s friends…At least three more had DUIs,” the report continued.
For decades, McFarland did not have a police force. Instead, it contracted with the Kern County Sheriff’s Office. But in 2009, the agency started up again — something city leaders said would save the city money.
However, the department offered one of the state’s lowest starting salaries at $20 per hour, making it difficult to compete with other departments.
The report later mentions, in detail, former mcfarland Chief Gregory Herrington. It states he was once convicted of DUI in Georgia, and fired from the Banning Police Department for dishonesty.
The report states, during his three-year tenure in mcfarland from 2010-2013, “the department signed on three more officers officers fired from Banning for dishonesty.”
Additionally, the report mentions most-recent McFarland Chief Scot Kimble. He currently serves as Arvin’s police chief.
The report states Kimble worked for at least eight agencies over the last 30 years, and was “forced out by at least two,” per the report.
In 2004, according to the report, then-Banning Corporal Kimble was said to have been arrested by the California Highway Patrol after driving more than 100 miles per hour through the Riverside County town.
Fast forward to today, the report says the Kern County District Attorney is investigating Kimble for allegations he misused city funds while in McFarland.
When asked by the report’s authors about the investigation, Kimble acknowledged the Kern County DA’s office questioned him, but he added “that’s all I’m going to say.”
Former KGET journalist Katy Rusch was a co-author of the story. Kimble told Rusch and her team the following:
Officers with questionable pasts left while he was in charge of the department. Moreover, he stated the accusations leveled against him were brought by other officers trying to ruin his reputation.
Herrington now serves as chief in the Lovelock Paiute Tribe Police Department in Nevada.
*KGET reached out to McFarland PD and Kimble, bud we did not hear back by news time.
14 people now serve on the force. According to the report, two officers with criminal pasts are still on McFarland’s roster.
However, interim Chief Janet Davis, a 36-year-veteran, said in the report she is turning things around.
“If you ask me would I hire people with criminal records, the answer is no,” she said.