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Public demands fair investigation of allegations against Paso police chief

Carl Knoll, a Paso Robles business owner, speaks in support of police Chief Lisa Solomon on Tuesday night. Critics of the Police Department hold placards.
Carl Knoll, a Paso Robles business owner, speaks in support of police Chief Lisa Solomon on Tuesday night. Critics of the Police Department hold placards. dmiddlecamp@thetribunenews.com

The public called upon the Paso Robles City Council on Tuesday for a fair and impartial investigation into recent allegations against police Chief Lisa Solomon.

Solomon has been under public scrutiny after employee allegations came to light last week regarding illegal traffic-ticket quotas and sexual harassment.

The city has declined comment on the allegations, citing personnel privacy laws. Mayor Duane Picanco read a similar privacy statement after the public spoke Tuesday. The council then moved on to its regular agenda, and the crowds departed.

“It’s not that I’m not in support of the police chief. I’m not in support of the process going on,” resident Bob Barker said at the meeting. “The citizens are up in arms about it. She should absolutely be placed on administrative leave.”

Solomon remains on the job as chief.

Before the meeting, nearly 15 people rallied in protest outside City Hall. They say city administrators and council members aren’t doing enough.

“I think people are here to see what the council is going to do. I hope they say why she hasn’t been put on administrative leave,” said Sandy Gilliam, who lives near Nacimiento Lake just outside the city.

Gilliam held a sign that read “Time to clean house” in thick black ink. She said she would like Solomon and City Manager Jim App to resign.

People attending the meeting overflowed into the lobby outside council chambers. The majority of the room appeared to be in support of Solomon, who received hugs from about 15 people. Solomon said she attended the meeting because she always does as a department head. Police and fire personnel were also in attendance, on the chance that the crowds grew too large. About 10 police officers were on watch.

Rod Smiley of Paso Robles said a lot of what he has heard is just repeated rumors and accusations rather than first-hand accounts.

“I’ve never seen her act inappropriately at any time, and that’s personal knowledge,” he said.

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