A Walnut Creek police officer was supposedly slated to be fired after internal investigators discovered in 2017 that he mishandled evidence in dozens of cases and habitually lied in police reports.
But two years have passed since the police chief stated he would move to fire the officer.
Walnut Creek Police Chief Thomas Chaplin said he initially planned to fire officer Curtis Borman (far left in the above photo) for dishonestly filing false police reports and mishandling evidence in several cases.
Chief Chaplin apparently changed course and will spare Borman’s job, according to records released Friday.
Internal investigators began a probe into Borman in early 2017 after they became aware of information regarding Borman misrepresenting information and statements in several police reports, according to the San Fransisco Chronicle.
The first case stemmed from a traffic stop in December 6, 2016.
Borman found the driver and passenger had active warrants for their arrest.
A search of the vehicle found a bag of Vicodin, glass pipes, a substance Borman suspected was liquid heroine and syringes.
However, investigators discovered Borman never mentioned the pills in his initial report and later told his sergeant he disposed of them in a dumpster.
The sergeant ordered him to retrieve the evidence from the dumpster, but officer Borman replied he could not remember what happened to the pills and may have left them inside of his car.
As investigators worked that case, Borman implicated himself in violating several more department policies after telling investigators that he often held off on booking video or photos into evidence unless a property technician reminded him.
That discovery sparked investigators to conduct an audit into how Borman had handled evidence. Investigators reviewed a total of 116 cases from 2015 and 2016 in which Borman handled video or photo evidence.
Out of 116 cases, investigators found 31 in which Borman stated he booked items into evidence.
But the items were not accounted for in evidence.
According to transcripts, officer Borman stated he was not aware of the rules surrounding his false reports.
Regarding the missing Vicodin, officer Borman said he didn’t plan on charging the woman who allegedly possessed them with a crime.
Instead, he explained he was attempting to turn the woman into a police informant.
“To be completely honest, I like to try to develop informants,” he explained.
“I was hoping that by not charging her for the pills, it would seem like I was giving her a break and she might disclose some information and become an informant.”
After the investigation unfolded, Chief Chaplin informed Borman he intended to fire him.
“You have repeatedly proven yourself incompetent in the handling of evidence and completion of reports and raised serious questions about your honesty,” Chaplin said.
“The department therefore has no choice but to terminate your employment.”
In lieu of termination, officer Borman was suspended for 30 days without pay and has entered into a “last chance agreement” as well as a plan to improve his job performance.
A summary of the cased release on Tuesday states Borman was found to have “violated several policies, including multiple examples of careless evidence handling (mostly photos and video) and misrepresenting his actions in police reports.”
The department concluded Borman was a “newer officer” in 2016 and noted he had a record of receiving awards and referred to his approach to policing as “proactive.”
The investigators who worked on Borman’s case recommended he should be fired.
And two years later, even though Chief Chaplin found Borman guilty of four department policy violations, it was determined the “most serious allegation of dishonesty was unfounded,” according to the records released Friday.
The release of 866 pages of documents related to Borman came on the same day 33 California newspapers, public radio stations and on-line media companies announced an unprecedented collaboration to collect and share disciplinary records under SB1421, the California Reporting Project, which emphasizes government transparency.
The bill took effect January 1, 2019.
Before SB1421 became law, the Walnut Creek Police Officers Association, along with five other Contra Costa County law enforcement unions, sued to block the release of records created before 2019.
Their lawsuit was unsuccessful.