Paso Robles spent $160,000 to settle lawsuit by ex-police officer

mfountain@thetribunenews.comMarch 21, 2014 

Paso Robles Public Safety Center

JOE JOHNSTON — jjohnston@thetribunenews.com Buy Photo

The city of Paso Robles spent more than $160,000 to settle the case of a former police officer who accused the Police Department of retaliation for complaining about alleged traffic quotas.

According to information provided in response to a Tribune public records request, the city paid $125,000 in a settlement reached with former officer Jon Tatro, whose five-year dispute with the city briefly went to trial last week.

In addition, Paso Robles paid $33,594 in attorneys fees and $2,671 in other costs.

The settlement was reached approximately an hour after opening statements concluded on March 13, though the terms were not initially disclosed due to a confidentiality agreement.

City manager Jim App would not comment on the case Thursday but said, in general, settlements in cases like Tatro’s are protected under the city’s insurance.

Tatro had been with the department for 25 years when he resigned following what he called retaliation for not meeting department standards for traffic enforcement. Tatro accused the department — even going as far as to attempt to speak to a San Luis Obispo Superior Court judge — of implementing a quota policy for handing out traffic citations.

Traffic quotas are illegal under the California Vehicle Code.

More than 45 witnesses were scheduled to testify in Tatro’s trial — including former police Chief Lisa Solomon, current Chief Robert Burton and a number of current and former officers — before the settlement was reached unexpectedly last week.

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