KHSD police chiefs

David Edmiston, the longtime Kern High School District police officer named acting chief after whistleblower Joseph Lopeteguy was placed on leave this year, has also been placed on administrative leave, officials confirmed Thursday.

Ed Komin, a district police officer, has been appointed acting chief, KHSD spokeswoman Lisa Krch said. He will be the third chief to serve in the last five months. 

Krch, however, would not confirm when Edmiston was placed on leave because the district office had closed and she was unable to get the information.

“(Human Resources) is closed and everybody is gone. It’s way past 4:30 p.m.,” Krch told The Californian at 4:34 p.m.

She would not explain why Edmiston, who has served as interim chief for fewer than 11 weeks, was placed on leave. She said it was a personnel matter.

Edmiston’s listed phone number has been disconnected and he could not be reached. Before his appointment, Edmiston served as the on-campus officer at Shafter High School.

Edmiston took the reins of the district’s 22-member police force in August after Lopeteguy, who'd reported that high-level administrators had been misusing a sensitive police information database to run background checks on students and staff members, went on stress leave.

At least one of those staff members had filed a worker’s compensation claim against the district and the child was in special education, according to reports filed by the Kern County Sheriff's Office, to which Lopeteguy had brought his concerns.

Sheriff’s officials recommended criminal charges against former KHSD Police Chief Mike Collier and Director of Pupil Personnel Otis Jennings. The District Attorney’s office declined to press charges, citing an expired statute of limitations and insufficient evidence.

Lopeteguy was placed on leave during the middle of the sheriff's investigation. He was reinstated in early August, went on a medical stress leave, and then filed a $2.2 million claim against the high school district alleging retaliation.

In the wake of the California Law Enforcement Telecommunications System scandal, KHSD has hired a third-party investigator with no price ceiling, contracted with a consulting group to advise the district’s police force on best practices, and given Superintendent Bryon Schaefer “civilian oversight” of the department.

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