Police Chief at Baldwin Park Unified School District Placed on Leave

The chief of the Baldwin Park Unified School District Police Department was placed on administrative leave after district officials learned the chief had been fired from the LAPD and was once convicted of a felony.

Jill M. Poe, who has served as police chief for the district's department since 2014, could not immediately be reached for comment.

The district confirmed that Poe was the subject of an administrative inquiry but declined to offer additional information. The Board of Education met in closed session Tuesday evening but did not report that it took any action in the case.

"A question has been raised about the past work history of a member of our school police department; the district is looking into it. At this time, the officer has been placed on administrative leave. As this is a personnel matter, we cannot provide more details," the district said in a statement.

The apparent revelations about her history were first posted on a blog entitled, "The Legal Lens," which is written by a self-described anti-corruption activist who's also a Baldwin Park resident and attorney.

According to LA County Superior Court records obtained by NBC4 and the LA County District Attorney's Office Poe pleaded no contest, which is legally similar to guilty, to a felony insurance fraud charge on June 2, 2000. At the time she was an LAPD officer working out of the West Valley Division in the San Fernando Valley.

Court records show Poe was accused of falsely claiming her Toyota 4-Runner had been stolen and later accepting an insurance payment.

Poe was sentenced to two years, six months in prison, but the sentence was suspended and she was placed on three years probation. According to prosecutors at the end of two years of probation Poe was allowed to withdraw her plea to the felony charge and enter a new plea to a reduced misdemeanor charge of grand theft. A year later, the DA's Office said, the court granted Poe's request to have the entire case dismissed.

Poe also challenged her termination from the LAPD by suing the city in civil court, and records from that case show the LAPD had filed more than a dozen administrative charges in support of the termination, including allegations of sexual harassment of another officer.

In the "Legal Lens" item the author, Paul Cook, said California law specifically prohibits anyone with a felony conviction from becoming a police officer, even if that conviction is later reduced or dismissed.

"The California government code says if you've been convicted of a felony you can't be a peace officer, let alone the chief," Cook said.

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