A former sergeant and union head with the San Luis Obispo County Sheriffs Office has filed a lawsuit against the county for allegedly retaliating against him.
Dale E. Strobridge, who was fired from his position in February 2011, filed a civil lawsuit, acting as his own attorney, in San Luis Obispo Superior Court on March 13.
Among the defendants are former Sheriff Pat Hedges and current Sheriff Ian Parkinson.
Strobridge claims sheriffs officials instigated internal investigations and a written reprimand against him after he raised concerns about multiple violations of department policy.
Strobridge said in the lawsuit that in December 2009, he became aware that a confidential personnel memorandum was accessible through the patrol z drive file on the sheriffs computer network. The drive file is an internal database thats accessible to sworn deputies, according to sheriffs officials.
In February 2010, Strobridge claims he then discovered confidential deputy evaluations, written reprimands and other personnel documents published on the patrol z drive file of the network.
Strobridge wrote in the lawsuit that he downloaded the confidential items to his external thumb drive to ensure the integrity of the confidential documents and preserve evidence.
The former sergeant then said he was retaliated against for reporting the accessibility of the information on the file to Tami Douglas-Schatz, the countys director of human resources.
Hedges initiated an internal affairs investigation against (Strobridge) for breach of confidentiality stemming from (Strobridge) notifying defendants of the patrol z drive file, the lawsuit states.
Strobridge was forced to surrender his thumb drive and was fired Feb. 25, 2011, which he claims was an act of retaliation.
Strobridge said in the lawsuit that, in 2005, he reported former Sheriff Pat Hedges secret tape-recording of Chief Deputy Gary Hoving to the countys former human resources director, Deb Hossli.
Hoving later filed a federal lawsuit and received a $660,000 settlement from the county.
Strobridge also claims that in October 2009, as president of the Deputy Sheriffs Association employee union, Strobridge sent an email challenging changes to holiday time that he said didnt conform to the offices policies.
As part of his termination, Strobridge claimed he was illegally ordered to surrender his passwords to confidential personal files on his thumb drive, with which he complied.
Douglas-Schatz, Hedges and current Sheriff Ian Parkinson each are individually named as defendants in the lawsuit as well as the county.
San Luis Obispo County Counsel Warren Jensen said Thursday the county had not yet been served with the lawsuit and therefore could not comment on it.
A civil lawsuit represents only one side of the story.
If the lawsuit is served, we will be filing responsive documents with the court that may shed further light on the matter, Jensen said in an email to The Tribune.
Sheriffs Office spokesman Aaron Nix confirmed that Dale Strobridge was employed by the county from Jan. 18, 2004, until Feb. 25, 2011.
Hedges was out of town and unavailable for comment.