South Tahoe Officer Poland under federal investigation

By Kathryn Reed

South Lake Tahoe police Officer Johnny Poland turned in his badge and gun Nov. 15, with Wednesday being his first day on paid administrative leave.

“He is under federal criminal investigation. It would be inappropriate for him to continue to serve in a day-to-day capacity,” City Manager Tony O’Rourke told Lake Tahoe News. “It doesn’t reflect any guilt. It reflects the process that needs to run its course so we can determine if there were any serious violations of the law.”

South Tahoe police Officer Johnny Poland is on paid administrative leave. Photo/LTN file

South Tahoe police Officer Johnny Poland is on paid administrative leave. Photo/LTN file

Poland was not available for comment. Nor was Police Chief Brian Uhler.

O’Rourke would not elaborate on what Poland is being accused of. He said the investigation is being handled by the Department of Justice. He said the allegations are “criminal in nature.” And he said whatever might have happened occurred was while Poland was “in the capacity of a police officer.”

“It’s just an investigation. It reached the point and time that it would be awkward for both the department and Johnny for him to be an active police officer,” O’Rourke said.

Poland, who has been with the department for 12 years, was fired by the department in 2007 for an incident stemming from 2006. He fought that case and eventually was reinstated.

The full cost of the Poland case from 2007-09 has never been disclosed.

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Comments (46)
  1. TahoeKaren says - Posted: November 17, 2011

    Here we go again!

  2. nosealot says - Posted: November 17, 2011

    ask about the hostile environment filed, the current eeoc investigation, and whom corruption was reported to…

  3. Centurion says - Posted: November 17, 2011

    New Chief, new City Manager and same old Poland…

  4. Youhavegottobekiddingme says - Posted: November 17, 2011

    Where there is smoke…

  5. sunriser2 says - Posted: November 17, 2011

    Paid leave again? They should make him work for clean Tahoe this time.

  6. tahoedame says - Posted: November 17, 2011

    Perhaps you should run a story on the misconduct of slednet and the on going internal investigation that local prosecuters are attempting to sweep under the rug. The victimization of women in our community begins where you’d never think to look.

  7. Nosealot says - Posted: November 18, 2011

    Amazing how quickly people forget about the grand jury reports… The first that ripped into Pd management (the chief retired unexpectantly upon polands return) and the second grand jury ripped into the city…( No one left). Hmmm, if I recall Poland had a lot of doubters prior to the grand jury reports??? Can’t imagine there would be any retaliation for a whistle blower???

  8. earl zitts says - Posted: November 18, 2011

    Just wonderful. Couldn’t get Poland the first time, so let’s try again.
    The article explains in painful detail just what Officer Poland did or didn’t do, so citizens of SLT can rest assured that their politicians are doing the right thing. Certainly they would never retaliate or use their positions of power to destroy anybody or anything in their way.
    What transgression occurred. I have heard rumors he was plotting to drain Lake Tahoe. Is this possible?

  9. Centurion says - Posted: November 18, 2011

    As I recall Poland was suspended for 6 weeks last time and that was his second 6 week suspension accourding to the paper. So now we have a “federal” criminal investigation, which is significant because it takes the issue out of the hands of the local politicians. New City Manager, new Chief, new City Council same bad acts by Poland. Stop making excuses for his behavior.

  10. nosealot says - Posted: November 18, 2011

    centurion… you are so knowledgeable! I assume you knew the former chief, city manager, and city council were going to be reprimanded by not one, but two grand jurys? Or just a fluke?

  11. Snow says - Posted: November 18, 2011

    Not sure why Poland didn’t take the money and run. Things tend to catch up one eventually. Ego can be a dangerous thing.

  12. crazyme says - Posted: November 18, 2011

    Really! I swear our town has so much drama in it.

  13. retired cop says - Posted: November 18, 2011

    Will Rogers: “An ignorant person is one who doesn’t know what you have just found out.”

    Yep,yep,yep. The City and Police Administration sit around day and night trying to create ways to get at Mr. Poland. They have no other concerns such as budgets, city lay offs, and providing safety to the community.

    Unfortunately the protections are such that police staff and city officials are not allowed to comment ever on specific personnel matters. It would be interesting for people to understand the true facts to many situations if personnel matters could be revealed so the public would have a clearer understanding of why things happen and most likely be glad that the police ARE policed either by themselves or in this case by an outside entity such as the FBI.

    The “Continuum of Compromise” is a phrase applied to law enforcement regarding an officer who continually reduces their credibility and ethical standards. Credibility can never be taken away. It can only be given away by the individual officer.

    When credibility becomes such an issue an officer is charged with a Brady Admonishment whereas it has to be disclosed every time that officer testifies in court that his/her credibilty has been an issue. Perhaps Mr. Poland should disclose to his supporters, as well as the rest of the community, whether or not he has sustained a Brady filing in his career.

    Cowboy Quote: “When you find yourself in a hole, stop digging.” Mr. Poland has and always will use an excavator to dig his holes.

    I guess no one is bullet proof, eh?

  14. geeper says - Posted: November 19, 2011

    Well said Retired Cop.

  15. sandyeyes says - Posted: November 19, 2011

    Its a shame that many often have all the answers and have no amount of #$%@ anything to back it up! Do you ever ask yourself why in Lake Tahoe the Police are always after the same People and when they dont get there way, oh my goodness they are after you yet again? AND ITS ALWAYS BIGGER the next time! Like now for Mr. Poland….. but I think that the saying is third times a charm, not the second! I think that they have nothing better to do, they have no big scam going on, they have no big event going on, soooooo…. lets make one, lets get people to buy our newspapers again,(if you havent noticed the papers are not been taken at the first minute they were dropped at the location anymore) nothing big is going on in the SLT, lets find something people like to read about, DRAMA, and hmmm at whos expense shall we do it, hmmmm ahh Poland. Its such a shame that they couldnt go after others on there force, I.E. the ones that you see parked at peoples houses often, but yet there is only one car and we all know SLTPD operate 2 at a time, hmmmm….. I.E. The ones that take being a olice oficer as high athority cause as they were kids they were beat up and didnt have many friends so they think , you messed with me, ima mess with you, kinda umm short mans syndrome! AND THEY TAKE IT ALL THE WAY!! but yet these are the people running our streets at night, making a difference a change, right? I only have one question for those certain SLTPD officers, and city of SLT, Do you bleed red? Just like me! Do you have to put your pants on one leg at a time? Just like me! Just wondering why the SLT higher ups are so bitter yet so much better then I! Sorry Johnny Poland, but comeon man you had to know this was going to happen and if you didnt, do you bleed red too?

  16. sandyeyes says - Posted: November 19, 2011

    Please donot comment on the spelling errors as my key board has its OWN MIND :) Thanxs

  17. James says - Posted: November 19, 2011

    Mr. Poland being investigated by the Department of Justice? Is this the same DOJ that brought us Eric Holder, the “Fast and Furious” gun running operation, Waco and Ruby Ridge?

    Mr. Poland probably didn’t stand a chance there once he got his job back. The management didn’t want him back and provided Mr. Poland an environment where failure was preordained. Surreptitious microphones in his car, write ups for minor things that no other officers were written up for. You know, your basic unfair and disparate treatment.

    I’m sure he kept pointing his finger at the management’s continued crap behavior that passes for leadership at that shop. Mr. Poland went to the FBI first to report what he believed to be corrupt and unethical behavior on the part of the former chief and current captain. This is the thanks he gets? Nice.

    Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? (Who watches the watchmen?)

  18. earl zitts says - Posted: November 20, 2011

    Time to merge the police into the Sheriff’s Dept. Better policing and
    lower cost. Win, win, and win. But the same city pol’s (includes upper management) who are giving us Poland think they may lose their precious power, which is nonsense. The citizens be damned.

  19. jacksnot says - Posted: November 20, 2011

    LOLOLOLOLOahhhh yep citizens be damned! I think its time to sweep the entire upper management from “little man” to “top notch” maybe this community will get a little further! But how, how can we do it?

  20. Watcher of the watchmen says - Posted: November 20, 2011

    Boy I’m tired after placing all those microphones and preordaining officers failure

  21. Nosealot says - Posted: November 20, 2011

    Watchman… Maybe u can scoop up one of the plow jobs that the cut manager let go… Scab labor – No benefits, less pay but maybe less tiresome.. You r a comedian

  22. Centurion says - Posted: November 21, 2011

    Why is Poland on paid leave again? Who in the private sector is under CRIMINAL investigation and gets paid leave during the investigation? Seems crazy….

  23. retired cop says - Posted: November 21, 2011

    To Centurion

    People in the private sector can be under criminal investigation and still do their jobs. The nature and sensitivity of law enforcement issues are such that when an officer is under CRIMINAL investigation they fall into an area where they possibly are not able to function and carry out the duties as required, (nor would the public want such a person working in that capacity). When this occurs it is a common practice for an officer to be off on paid administrative leave pending the entire outcome of an investigation, both for the public’s best interest and the officer’s interest. Being under investigation and being guilty are two different issues. An agency has the right to put an officer off with pay when the agency believes it is in the best interest of the Department, citizenry, and the officer in question. If an officer is not fired and/or criminally charged they have the right to due process and to receive their normal salary. Due process applies to all.

  24. Centurion says - Posted: November 22, 2011

    Retired Cop regarding Poland: 6 week suspension + 6 week suspension + probable cause for criminal investigation = termination. There has been ample due process in this case. Enough is enough. Plus you seem to apply the same standard of due process to a criminal case as you would an employment case, they are not the same, the standard is much lower in employment law versus criminal. The citizens are tired of paying this guy to sit on the beach, let him go!!!!

  25. my goodness says - Posted: November 22, 2011

    UGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH please let him go or leave him alone, I can guarantee you that these “big wigs” can find someone else to pick on, cant imagine that the rest of SLTPD is in tip top shape\!

  26. retired cop says - Posted: November 22, 2011


    In some respects you are preaching to the choir my friend. Discipline is normally handed down in what is called “progressive discipline” to insure an employee learns from their mistakes/behavior problem so they move forward and not repeat the mistakes. This is in theory anyway, but sometimes officers believe they become more “bulletproof” after being fired and returning to work. Some never learn. Some think they can d anything and get away with it or else they will file EEOC complaints, one after another.

    When an officer is suspended as punishment and it occurs again, agencies have to take into account if it is for a different violation or behavior.

    Additionally police officers are afforded rights under POBR (Police Officer Bill of Rights) which does afford them due process. This is to protect officers from malicious prosecutions from an agency and to insure the process is correctly adhered to for the officer’s rights and the rights of the agency, not to mention the public’s rights to safety.

    I have always believed for one to be fired from law enfrcement one must lie or do a criminal act. Getting fired as a cop is like flunking gym in school…you have to REALLY work at!

  27. Nosealot says - Posted: November 22, 2011

    Tell us how you really feel retired cop, officer scott Wilson. why dont you express your disgust how your good friend had to retire and how you hoped to get promoted to sgt if you testified to certain incidents… Please tell all… Don’t cut it short. Otherwise stick with your medical retirement and steer clear of the Pd politics pal.

  28. Nosealot says - Posted: November 22, 2011

    Tell us how you really feel retired cop, officer scott Wilson. why dont you express your disgust how your good friend had to retire after a grand jury report and how you hoped to get promoted to sgt if you testified to certain incidents… Please tell all… Don’t cut it short. Otherwise stick with your medical retirement and steer clear of the Pd politics pal. ;)

  29. amber says - Posted: November 22, 2011

    Corruption in South Lake Tahoe? What??

    Black balling in South Lake Tahoe? What??

    Just business as usual…….

  30. nosealot says - Posted: November 22, 2011

    shall I continue???

  31. nosealot says - Posted: November 22, 2011

    Retired Cop maybe you should explain how officers have to sign an order and how it is PD policy that no officer shall speak to the press without prior approval of who else… PD management.

  32. nosealot says - Posted: November 22, 2011

    Last time I checked “retired cop” you are retired… all you know and hear is what people call in law enforcement is “hearsay” by some “folk” (a lil pun with cowboy language for you)in upper management. Explain that to everyone as well. LOL. U knucklehead (3 stooges lingo). Stay retired

  33. Parker says - Posted: November 22, 2011

    While I previously got into a strong disagreement with retired cop on this blog, if it is whom I believe it is, and whom others on this blog believe it is, I would have complete 100% faith in the SLTPD if it was staffed and managed by people of his caliber! But the SLTPD is not!

    Too bad that while we pay the bills for both our local and federal law enforcement agencies, the public is kept in the dark about the people that are supposed to be working for them!

  34. 30yrlocal says - Posted: November 22, 2011

    Nose: it isn’t just a police department’s policy to have employees not speak to the press, even casinos have that. The reason is because the lower ranks may not know the whole story or the right story and that they might be speaking so far from reality that a wrong message is conveyed.

  35. nosealot says - Posted: November 22, 2011

    30yr… from your title, I would have to assume you also respect it and/or know it to be aka….gag order (as it is most commonly used in the military). Whereas, the reason may not be “the whole story, or far from reality”, it can very well serve the purpose to keep information from getting out.

  36. retired cop says - Posted: November 22, 2011

    To Nosealot,

    You have missed the point. My blog pointed out the process that is taken during personnel matters. It is unfortunate that these matters are long and drawn out for all involved.

    Additionally people need to let the dust settle before they start attacking everyone and that everything is a great conspiracy of some sort.

    I will not get into personal bantering with you over this forum. I will clarify however, I have no hearsay information, nor have I asked to know what is going on for after 32 years of being a cop, I know these matters are confidential, just as I would want my own investigation kept confidential if I was being investigated.

    I investigated the high school gun/student/fight incident which in turn resulted with Poland being investigated previously.

    I have to chuckle about your Sgt promotion comment for I had planned to retire when I did about 2 1/2 years before the actual date. I went out on Christmas Eve as a personal present to myself. I could have been offered the keys to the city and I would have turned it down, my friend.

    As I have said, a person’s integrity is GIVEN away, not TAKEN away.

    Yet you ask me to tell you how I feel so I will. I believe in the system that is in place. What I am about to say is not directed at anyone in particular. I do believe that when an officer lies in an official police report, before a hearing or in court and is caught they should be fired. There is no place for such people in law enforcement. Law enforcement officers should be held to a higher standard than John Q citizen. They should be an example to the public. I do disagree that the law is such that when an officer is disciplined, an agency is only allowed to go back in a one year period of time when deciding to hand out discipline. Imagine that a traffic violation stays on yur record longer!

    It is remarkable how so many people want to make a “shotgun approach” with attacking the prior Chief, these beliefs of promosed promotions (talk about hearsay), etc. Just to set the record straight Nosealot, the Chief and I were once good friends. Over the years that friendship deteriorated to where on my last day of work he did not speak to me. Your “facts” are some great wild hearsay.

    By the way Nosealot, I never took a promotional test after my testimony regarding Poland’s hearing.

    Retired Cop

    PS You mispelled my name.

  37. nosealot says - Posted: November 22, 2011

    Retired Cop…. perhaps you need to be informed and/or read more aside from your belief in the system. Whereas, if you believed in the system you would know arbitration came to an conclusion that ruled the police department was wrong and Ofc Johnny Poland was wrongfully terminated (no lies. Hence, no brady issue hmmm?) Whereas, the grand jury ruled the police department was wrong, officers had “no confidence” with pd management (front page of tribune), and the department was in “crisis”. Oh wait,…the next grand jury had nothing good to say about about the city management. Oh no, we then had the court that ruled against the city and police department for tops… My oh my what damage one officer can do. Unfortunately, your belief of “lies” did not hold up and obviously, YOUR investigation did not amount to anything now did it???

    Im sorry you cant explain how the courts and grand jury ruled the way they did. But certainly, it wasn’t how you desired.. get over it pal.

    As for integrity, either your concept does not amount to anything or everyone, to include the entire city council, former Chief, and city manager gave theirs away as well???

    No, you didnt take a promotional test because your “once good buddy” turned on you and advised you that you were going up against some stiff competition. Some things just aren’t secret…but you know that ;)

    Keys to the city??? Please, my friend you were not nor were you anything to the department but a number.

    Be happy you are retired and let it go. Im sorry you lost your case with Ofc Johnny Poland. Face it, you are no pre-madonna.

    xoxoxo nosealot

  38. Tom says - Posted: November 23, 2011

    It is very clear that nosealot and retired cop have it out for each other, really guys! Take your personal issues else where…… We all know the city is not the best at handling issues and its all about who you know and how you kiss rears. In the end the city will spend an huge amount that no one will ever know the dollar amount on this issue, when it could be put to better use.

  39. really??!! says - Posted: November 24, 2011

    All I can say is; The universe has a way of working these things out. What’s meant to be WILL BE.

    For those who don’t believe in Karma; It exists. Karma’s a *****!

  40. retired cop says - Posted: November 25, 2011


    I will be happy to meet with you at any time and place where you and I can dicuss the merits of my investigation in a civil matter. This blog is not that arena. I think TKD still makes a mean sandwich.

    What a review board decides based on their opinion has no bearing on the investigation I completed. To set the record straight, Nosealot, it was not ‘my case against Ofc. Poland’ as you suggested. I merely reported the indescretions and hampering of a serious investigation by a member of the department and to this day I hold my head up high for doing so and would do the same tomorrow. Kids bringing guns to school and getting away with it based on any officer’s inactions/actions is wrong, period.

    If you don’t want to meet that it fine too, but I would suggest you keep an open mind. Just because someone is not found guilty or terminated does not mean they did not do what they are charged with.

    Lets see how this most recent matter comes out. A zebra does not change its stripes.

    I agree with “Really??!!” Karma is very interesting.

  41. Centurion says - Posted: November 25, 2011

    While the debate between “retired cop” and “nosealot/Poland” is interesting it is irrelevant to this discussion. The City Manager clearly points out this federal investigation is not related to prior personnel issues. The point remains because of union rules the citizens must continue to pay an employee on suspension while being investigated. This Officer has two prior suspensions and we continue to pay his salary and huge benefit package. This is a great example of the problems our government faces. The citizens pay lucartive salaries to these people and we can’t even fire the bad ones. The system is broken!!!

  42. nosealot says - Posted: November 25, 2011

    We all have our opinions and they are going to differ. Quite frankly, Im sure the readers of this blog don’t give a rats_ _ _ what any of our opinions are. Im sure they are getting a kick out of us ripping each other.

    Retired cop…I for one don’t care what your “merits”, your opinion, or thoughts are. Plain and simple! You are retired and your merits, thoughts, and opinion has no bearing.

    Centurion…Im sure everyone has figured out that you and I don’t share the love for one another. However, nice try at acting anonymous.

    As for an open mind,…you keep that thought as well. You too were part of a department that was found to be in “crisis” and I dont recall your name ever making the obvious difference in making it right. I just thought since you were so thorough at explaining procedures to Centurion that you might explain what all the Grand Jury findings were and why the department was found to be in crisis…

    Im sure you and Centurion will have some additional comments because that is how cops (even retired) are… have to have the last word and have to be right. Me? Ive got better things to do than entertain you two…I’ve got some holiday parties to attend.

    Hope your Thanksgiving was grand. Happy Holidays buckaroo.

  43. tahoe4ever says - Posted: November 25, 2011

    WOW, Poland seems to be up against big guns that will make it their mission to see he isn’t a police officer any longer No matter what. And what a shame. The true Locals know You were the only police officer in town that would treat someone with a heart and did your job anyway, and probably the ONLY police officer that doesn’t put you through a whole sobriety test just because you had a tail light out. You will remain a great police officer in our eyes Officer Poland, don’t let them bring you down. Speaking of a broken system, how’s that investigation going about the ex-chief’s inflated retired salary? Some say, it would be better time spent than trying to drum up anything you can on an officer that isn’t a “ARSE”.

  44. retired cop says - Posted: November 25, 2011

    Not trying to get the last word but to set the record straight I always believed that the grand jury findings should have been investigated in relationship to the Police Department, especially upper management. I remembered a particular quote from a mayor at the time in the paper stating something to the affect that they did not have confidence in the current grand jury with how the jury had come to some of its conclusions they had on unrelated matters. I did believe the investigations shoud have taken place to prove or disprove the alligations made. I am certain that since the mayor’s campaign manager at one time and still very good friend of many years was the Chief prior to his assuming the role of Chief, had no bearing on the investigations not going forward. Now if you believe that I have a bridge to sell you!

    Have a good holiday. Mine are good these days too. I don’t have to work on them any longer! Maybe see ya at the deli!

  45. Wildntahoe says - Posted: November 26, 2011

    Nosealot, you obviously don’t know much! From your first statement to your last, you are slanderous and speak lies. Why don’t you mind your own business because you have no place or authority to speak in theater you are campaigning in. These blogs are a demise to real news unless you people speak truthful fact, based accounts. Nosealot you are not speaking truth about the department, grand jury or the people you attack. Get a life!

  46. nosealot says - Posted: November 27, 2011

    HMMM, and you, WILDntahoe, must have been on the Grand Jury… NOT!!!Pick up the paper, search SLT Grand Jury and read my friend… Tool! A very dull one!