UKIAH, 6/16/22 – Four days into Ukiah Police Chief Noble Waidelich’s criminal investigation, the exact nature of the alleged crimes remains shrouded in secrecy. The Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement Thursday that the ongoing investigation is unrelated to the domestic violence allegations Waidelich was investigated for in 2015, but it’s still unclear. not whether the police chief has been arrested or will return to duty.
“The alleged incident was a new allegation unrelated to the previous domestic violence allegation previously investigated by the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office,” MCSO Captain Gregory Van Patten said Thursday morning in an email. “The Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office will not comment on the nature of the alleged misconduct or the location of the incident in order to protect the integrity of the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office’s ongoing investigation.”
Ukiah City Manager Sage Sangiacomo said Captain Cedric Crook had been named acting chief but little else. A spokesperson for the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office, which is handling the criminal investigation, said they were brought in Monday, June 13 at the request of Sheriff Kendall in the interests of transparency. Waidelich did not appear in Mendocino County Jail booking logs at the time of this writing, nor in SCSO arrest logs.
“We understand that this case will have heightened public interest,” said SCSO Sgt. Juan Valencia said in an email Wednesday. “The Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office is unable to release any additional information due to the active status of this investigation and to protect the integrity of this case.”
Valencia said the case would be referred to Mendocino County District Attorney David Eyster upon completion of the SCSO investigation. As of Thursday afternoon, no new civil or criminal cases naming Waidelich as a defendant appeared in the Mendocino County Superior Court’s online database. Eyster did not immediately return a call seeking comment late Thursday morning.
According to Section 3304(c) of the California Peace Officer’s Bill of Rights: “No chief of police shall be removed by any public agency or appointing authority, without furnishing the chief of police with notice writing and the reason(s) for which and a possibility of administrative appeal.
It probably takes time. But that does not explain the degree of secrecy with which this matter is handled by each agency involved. The city may be bound by contractual obligations, but these will not affect Eyster or SCSO.
At a regular meeting of Ukiah City Council on Wednesday evening, council members voted to add an ‘urgent item’ to their closed-door agenda regarding the discipline, dismissal or removal of an employee not identified. They adjourned in camera two hours and 15 minutes into the meeting – and that’s where the video ends. City staff did not respond to an email Thursday asking for action to be reported outside the closed session.
Not a single person mentioned the mysterious allegations against Waidelich during public comments on Wednesday evening, although a local pastor thanked the police chief for his help with reduction efforts at a nearby homeless encampment. from the Orr Street Bridge. It was unclear whether the speaker was aware of the criminal investigation that led to Waidelich’s administrative leave.