Hero cop sues department over concealed carry denial

The UC Berkeley officer hailed as a hero for helping to rescue a kidnap victim is now suing her former employer, saying she was wrongfully denied approval to carry a concealed weapon after she retired on medical disability

By Henry Lee
San Francisco Chronicle

BERKELEY, Calif.  The UC Berkeley police officer hailed as a hero for helping to rescue kidnap victim Jaycee Dugard is now suing her former employer, saying she was wrongfully denied approval to carry a concealed weapon after she retired on medical disability.

Allison "Ally" Jacobs' instincts helped lead to the 2009 capture of Phillip Garrido, the man who kept Dugard captive for 18 years at his home near Antioch. A year later, Jacobs suffered an on-duty injury and, in April 2013, she accepted a disability retirement.

Under state law, retired cops are entitled to a permit to carry a concealed weapon. But Jacobs was told she was ineligible for a retired officer card with an endorsement to carry a concealed weapon because UC, in a policy shift, no longer considered her and others receiving disability income to be "retired."

Jacobs' attorney, Michael Morguess, said UC officials were "playing semantics" with officers who "put their lives on the line at UC and got injured in the course of performing their duties."

UC officials said they changed their policy after former UC Berkeley police Sgt. Karen Alberts, who was close to retirement age, unsuccessfully sued UC in 2012 over a similar denial of a weapons permit after she suffered an on-duty injury.

In rejecting Alberts' request for a court order, Judge Evelio Grillo of Alameda County Superior Court suggested that Alberts had the "ability to pursue alternative paths that may lead to the same ultimate result," such as formally choosing to retire instead of continuing to accept disability payments, in accordance to UC policies.

UC's retirement plan is different from state plans like the California Public Employees' Retirement System "in that there is no 'disability retirement' status," said UC spokeswoman Dianne Klein.

Jacobs now does public speeches on the importance of following one's intuition. She said Monday that she needed the permit because, after her publicized role in the Garrido case, criminals might recognize and challenge her.

"I feel, once a police officer, always a police officer," she said. "The fact is all officers are targets the rest of their lives whether retired or not. A big target is painted on my back, and I fear I will not be able to not only protect myself, but my family if the need arises."

Jacobs said she sensed something wasn't right on Aug. 25, 2009, when Garrido and the two daughters he fathered with Dugard after kidnapping her showed up at the UC Berkeley police station to ask for permission to hold a campus event. The pale girls were wearing drab sundresses.

Their interaction with Garrido was strange, and the effect added up to " 'Little House on the Prairie meets robots,' " Jacobs said.

Jacobs checked Garrido's background, saw that he was a sex offender with convictions for rape and kidnapping, and contacted his parole officer. Jacobs got the shock of her life when the parole officer told her that Garrido didn't have any known children.

That set in motion Dugard's rescue and the arrest of Garrido and his wife, who were sentenced to lengthy prison terms.

Copyright 2014 the San Francisco Chronicle

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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