An internal investigation into former Desert Hot Springs police Chief Dale Mondary has been completed, but city officials said Tuesday the report will be kept confidential because it falls outside the scope of a state law that expanded public access to selected law enforcement records.
Mondary, who served as police chief for four years, resigned in May, admitting in his resignation letter that he had “a series of consensual private text messages … with an adult female two years ago.”
Assistant City Manager Doria Wilms said the city’s internal personnel investigation into Mondary was completed Monday, but she said the results will not be publicly released.
California law provides for the release of law enforcement personnel records only under certain circumstances, including police use of force, officers found to have been dishonest in the “reporting, investigation, or prosecution of a crime,” and on-duty sexual assault allegations found to be “sustained.”
“Sexual assault was not a part of this investigation,” Wilms told City News Service.
Californians gained expanded access to police records with Senate Bill 1421, which was signed into law in 2018.
“The city has reviewed the newly adopted exceptions to the confidentiality of peace officer personnel records and has found that none apply in this situation,” Wilms said.
Mondary resigned about a month after he was placed on paid administrative leave in April after reports surfaced of what was described at the time as inappropriate personal use of social media involving unspecified individuals.
In his resignation letter, Mondary, who is married, admitted to inappropriately texting a woman two years ago, but said the conversation was consensual and that information supplied to media outlets was “based on selective bits of communication with missing facts.”
“My decision is in light of the recent revelation of a series of consensual private text messages I participated in one evening with an adult female two years ago,” Mondary wrote. “Although I consider this a personal matter and wish it could have been handled privately, I recognize this situation has caused great harm and embarrassment to my family, the department and the community of Desert Hot Springs.”