Police officers are fallible like the rest of us. And that can mean fallible enough to steal. The suspicion going around the Redondo Beach Police Officers Association is that one of their own has been ripping them off. And the likely culprit is the man at the top. Several weeks ago, Sgt. Gene Tomatini, a member of the Redondo Beach police force and head of its special investigations unit, was suspended from both his union and police officer’s position and placed on paid administrative leave following the association accountant’s discovery of “irregularities.”
The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office’s Justice System Integrity Division has taken over the case. Lead prosecutor Sergio Gonzalez declined to discuss the details of the investigation, except to say that one is underway. Police officers won’t disclose how much money is missing or any other aspect of the case. But reportedly the amount is between $50,000 and $100,000. Officer Tomatini, 39, was unavailable for comment. If he’s been stealing, it would mark a comedown in performance. Back in 2000, he’d received a Report of Exemplary Performance during his department’s annual recognition ceremony. In the meantime, Association Vice President Bill Turner has assumed the role of interim president. (Torrance Daily Breeze, 12/19/08).