Calexico Police Officer Diego Villalobos was fired from the department on Tuesday, Dec. 8, amid allegations of sexual misconduct, according to information from the Calexico Police Department and sheriff’s investigators on Thursday, Dec. 10. | PHOTO ILLUSTRATION
A Calexico police officer was fired this week amid three-year-old allegations of sexual misconduct, according to Calexico’s police chief and investigating authorities.
Officer Diego Villalobos, who had a little under a year left on his 18-month probationary period, was fired on Tuesday, Dec. 8, according to a letter and media statement from Calexico Police Chief Gonzalo Gerardo.
Although Gerardo did not identify the officer by name in the letter nor would he confirm the officer’s age or hire date, Villalobos’ identify was confirmed in the title of the chief’s email and by the Imperial County Sheriff’s Office, which is investigating the allegations against the former officer.
Gerardo provided a timeline and some details into the incident in a letter to the community penned early Thursday morning, Dec. 10.
“On the evening of Sunday, December 6, 2020, the Calexico Police Department was informed of a possible criminal act committed by a Calexico Police Officer. As a result of this notice, the department’s shift supervisor contacted the Patrol Commander, who in turn contacted the Chief of Police,” Gerardo’s letter states.
“The Calexico Police Department immediately contacted the Imperial County Sheriff’s Office for assistance in investigating this case. The Imperial County Sheriff’s Office began their investigation the morning of Monday, December 7, 2020. The Police Officer was placed on paid administrative leave on Monday, December 7, 2020,” the letter continued.
“On Tuesday, December 8, 2020, the Imperial County Sheriff’s Office informed the Calexico Police Department that a crime had occurred three years ago. In this investigation, the criminal misconduct merited the immediate termination of this employee. The Calexico Police Department will not tolerate any sustained criminal misconduct by any employee, we take pride in being a professional agency with hardworking, dedicated, and loyal employees,” Gerardo wrote in the letter.
The chief would not discuss the case any further, only confirm that Villalobos was a probationary officer with a little less than a year on his term. He was out of the field-training phase and was patrolling on his own.
Gerardo added that the probation period for Calexico officers is 18 months.
Villalobos has not been arrested or charged for the allegations, and the investigation into the suspected crimes is ongoing, Imperial County sheriff’s Lt. Manuel De Leon said on Thursday, Dec. 10.
Of being called in by Calexico P.D. to investigate the matter, De Leon said, “They wanted it to be very transparent.”
Sheriff’s investigators are currently interviewing witnesses and placed no timeframe on when an arrest or charges could come against Villalobos.
“With him no longer being a police officer, we no longer feel he is a threat to the community,” De Leon said.
Although there is plenty being shared through social media, De Leon and Gerardo were cognizant not to reveal any details that might identify victims of sexual abuse or sexual misconduct. Neither would reveal whether the alleged crimes occurred against a minor or an adult.
The chief wrapped up his statement by writing, “the Calexico Police Department will not make any more comments on this matter. All inquiries on this case should be made to the Imperial County Sheriff’s Office South County Investigations Unit.”