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Simi Valley Orders Officer's Retirement

November 25, 1993|SARA CATANIA | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Following a city-requested medical evaluation, the city of Simi Valley ordered the retirement Wednesday of a high-ranking police officer who had been suspended in February.

City officials would not elaborate on the medical condition of Lt. Robert C. Klamser, 40, or their reason for ordering his retirement. Klamser was placed on paid leave in February pending an internal investigation whose nature also was not disclosed.

"We cannot further comment on the matter," Assistant City Manger Mike Sedell said, "because it is a personnel matter with potential significant legal implications."

Klamser, who could not be reached for comment, has 15 working days to appeal the decision.

Although city officials did not disclose a reason for the retirement demand, medical disability retirement is the only type that a city can order for an employee, according to Martha Barger, spokeswoman for the Public Employees Retirement System.

In the case of a police officer, "the requirement would be that the city believes that the person is incapacitated physically or mentally for the performance of their duties," Barger said.

Police Chief Lindsey P. Miller was unavailable for comment. The chief declined at the time of Klamser's suspension to say why he was placed on paid leave.

But the move was made shortly after a written complaint from a Ventura County deputy public defender concerning the department's handling of a rape investigation involving a former police officer.

A year ago, after an investigation supervised by Klamser, the Ventura County district attorney's office filed a rape charge against Paul Anthony Nolan, 31, who was then a Simi Valley traffic officer.

The charge was later dropped after further investigation by prosecutors. Nolan's attorney, Deputy Public Defender Todd Howeth, accused the Simi Valley police of conducting a "slipshod investigation."

In a letter he sent to Miller, Howeth named Klamser as engaging in "certain improprieties in the investigation against Officer Nolan." Howeth did not elaborate on his concerns.

In another high-profile case in January, Klamser asked that criminal charges be filed against a Simi Valley couple who left their four children unattended for four days. The district attorney's office declined to prosecute the couple.

Klamser was again in the news one week before his suspension. In a bid to find the mother of an abandoned newborn baby, he conducted a news conference in which television and newspaper photographers were allowed to take pictures of the child.

Klamser, who has served as an international consultant on hostage negotiations, joined the department as an officer in August, 1975. Later, as supervisor of administrative services, he was chief spokesman for the department. Two years ago, he was placed in charge of detectives.

Barger said workers who accept employee-requested retirement are not penalized in the amount of compensation they receive. "It does not imply wrongdoing," she said.

The employee retirement system leaves retirement decisions on police retirement entirely up to city officials.

"We don't get involved," Barger said. "We just process the application."

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