Date: November 7, 2022
News Item(s): Termination of Police Chief Albert Escalera
Appointment of Acting Police Chief Robert Layman
Ongoing Internal Investigations in the Sunnyside Police Department
City Contact: City Manager Elizabeth Alba
The City of Sunnyside announces the termination of Police Chief Albert Escalera. Escalera has served as Police Chief of the Sunnyside Police Department since May of 2014, but recent events including increased crime, officer-involved shootings, and reports of misconduct from within the department are sited in the City Manager’s decision. Alba states: “I have not come to this decision lightly, but ultimately believe my decision best serves the interests of the Police Department, the City as a whole, and the community of Sunnyside.” City Manager Alba also identifies that the working relationship between a City Manager and Police Chief requires a high degree of trust and cohesion, but believes these qualities are lacking between herself and Chief Escalera. “I have therefore concluded that both the City and the community will benefit from a change in leadership as we look to the future,” notes Alba. Alba has appointed current Police Sergeant Robert Layman as Acting Police Chief until a permanent replacement can be named.
In addition to the change at the level of Chief, Police Commander Scott Bailey has been placed on paid Administrative Leave pending the results of an internal investigation into misconduct. Police Sergeant Johnnie Gusby will step in as Acting Police Commander until the investigation is complete. Commander Bailey’s leave is not disciplinary in nature and should not be construed as any adverse findings against him at this time.
There will be no further comment from City staff or officials at this time.