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Former police sergeant points finger at Sunnyside police chief, deputy chief

Former Sunnyside Police Sergeant Jose Trevino contends that the city's police chief and deputy chief are guilty of wrongdoing.

Last November, Trevino accused Police Chief Ed Radder of giving a gun to an illegal alien and Deputy Chief Phil Schenck of an inappropriate relationship with a high school student.

Sunnyside City Manager Bob Stockwell confirmed yesterday that the allegations against Radder and Schenck have formally been lodged.

Stockwell said he takes allegations against city officials seriously, but added, "Until something is proven it doesn't make sense to draw conclusions."

Stockwell said the allegations were first forwarded to the Yakima County Prosecutor's office, then about three weeks ago, on to the State Patrol to ensure a neutral, third party evaluation.

Yakima County Prosecutor Ron Zirkle explained why his office wasn't handling the investigations into the two allegations.

"My office works closely with the Sunnyside Police Department," he said, "and as a matter of public policy I wouldn't want the public to think that any decisions were influenced by a working relationship."

Kristin Alexander, a public relations spokesperson with the Washington state Attorney General's office, which was forwarded the case by the county prosecutor's office, said some "paperwork" should be received from the State Patrol on the allegations within the next few weeks.

Sunnyside School District Superintendent Dr. Rick Cole said yesterday was the first he had heard of the accusation involving Schenck and a high school student.

Speaking through Julie Kaplicky, the district's public relations officer, Cole added, "Schenck had no direct contact during the time period (of 2005 when the incident allegedly happened) or any other."

Cole said Schenck was never a school resource officer and had not worked within the school environment. He called the accusation "a total surprise."

Trevino also has a wrongful discharge suit pending against the city, related to his resignation from the police force on Oct. 31, 2005, during a window of time when he could have appealed pending disciplinary action.

In a Nov. 1, 2005 story in the Daily Sun News, Radder said he accepted Trevino's resignation because "...it allowed him to take responsibility for the consequences of his actions."

Trevino, now an officer with the Granger Police Department, was placed on administrative leave from the Sunnyside Police force on Oct. 8, 2005, following a domestic dispute complaint involving his wife at the time, Nena Martinez Trevino, on Oct. 7, 2005.

In the Nov. 1, 2005, story referenced previously, Radder stated, "It (the domestic violence case) was the straw that broke the camel's back. I was looking at other behavior. There's a loss of public trust."

Yakima County District Court officials confirmed yesterday that the domestic dispute complaint against Trevino was dismissed last September because he obtained a domestic violence perpetrator's treatment evaluation and met a recommended follow-up treatment.

Formal requests for information were filed yesterday for more documentation about Trevino's allegations, as well as Trevino's actions while with the Sunnyside Police Department.

In correspondance received this morning, Sunnyside City Clerk Deborah Estrada confirmed receipt of the information requests, noting, "Due to the nature of the requested records, we find it necessary to contact a third party affected by the request and determine if your request is covered by an exemption to the disclosure requirements."

Estrada estimates that the city will have a formal reponse to the requests for the records involving the allegations on or before Wednesday, Feb. 28.

A phone message for Trevino was left with the Granger Police Department.

A phone message was also left for Radder through the Sunnyside Police Department.

When contacted yesterday, Schenck said there was little comment he could make because of Trevino's wrongful discharge suit.

"As a city employee I'm not allowed to respond, there's nothing I can say," Schenck said. "I know what my opinion is. It's obviously in my best interest to comment, but I can't."

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