Colton PD Detective Charged With Theft

(November 16)   Colton police detective Wesley Bruhn, the police union boss whose power in Colton’s 67-member police department once rivaled that of the police chief and the eleven other officers in the department who outranked him, has slipped from his pinnacle of power and now stands charged with having embezzled more than $165,000 from the union he once headed.
On November 9, the San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office filed five counts of felony grand theft and one felony charge of forgery against Bruhn and obtained an arrest warrant against him from Judge William Jefferson Powell.
Bruhn was not in custody at the time and was categorized as a fugitive. On November 14, Bruhn  surrendered to authorities at the San Bernardino County sheriff’s headquarters, and was promply arrested. According to the district attorney’s office, Bruhn began appropriating for his own use union funds beginning in July 2008.
Bruhn was formerly the president of the Colton Police Officers Association. More recently, he was that organization’s treasurer.
According to information available to the Sentinel, Bruhn, 45, engaged in the thefts while he was serving first in the capacity of union president and later as treasurer. The thefts continued through July of this year when the current union president, Rich Randolph, was alerted to what were described as anomalies in the union’s accounts.
Randolph arranged for an independent audit of the union’s funds, which until that point were under Bruhn’s control.
That audit quickly determined there was money missing and Bruhn was suspended as treasurer. In August Bruhn was put on paid administrative leave by the police department after discrepancies in the union’s accounts were confirmed and the matter was turned over to the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department for investigation.
Bruhn’s run as union leader was a controversial and rocky one.
He battled with former councilman Richard De La Rosa, himself a corrections officer, over policy decisions made by the city council and what Bruhn complained was “micromanaging” of the police department by the city’s political leadership.
In September 2007, Bruhn filed a claim against the city and Councilman De La Rosa, alleging that De La Rosa maliciously made false and defamatory accusations against him. Bruhn maintained De La Rosa filed a “completely bogus” harassment complaint against Bruhn over his unwillingness to go along with De La Rosa’s dictates as a council member.
Earlier in 2007, as president of the Colton Police Officers Association, Bruhn led the charge against then-police chief Ken Rulon, charging his boss with having  created a hostile work environment, misusing his position to make personal discount purchases with department vendors, having instituted citation and arrest quotas that were charted on a bulletin board on the wall of the police department headquarters and engaging in intimidation of the men under his command as well as sexual harassment of female employees. Rulon  maintained that Bruhn had acted against him because he had been passed over for promotion to sergeant. Nevertheless, in the test of will and power between the two men, Bruhn prevailed, obtaining a no-confidence vote against Rulon by more than ninety percent of the Colton Police Officers Association’s 67 members and seeing Rulon ignominiously fired, and his badge and gun taken from him before he was unceremoniously escorted by armed officers from his office.
Bruhn can no longer employ that position power as he has been relieved of his role as union treasurer and kicked out of the association altogether.

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