Deputies have arrested a Porterville police sergeant after finding him in a car with an underage Explorer scout, the Tulare County Sheriff’s Office reported Monday.
On Sunday night, deputies were called out to the area of Jaye Street and Baker Avenue in Porterville for a suspicious vehicle check. When they arrived, they saw two cars parked next to each other.
When the deputy approached one of the cars, he observed an adult male and a female, later determined to be a teen girl. The man identified himself as Wayne Martin, 33, an off-duty Porterville police sergeant and the Explorer program supervisor.
The 17-year-old girl told deputies she is an Explorer scout with the Porterville Police Department.
Martin was arrested on three counts of annoying or molesting a person under 18. His bail is set at $150,000.
Sheriff Mike Boudreaux has asked Kings County officials to house Martin at the Kings County Jail because the Tulare County Jail population likely includes people Martin has arrested.
Porterville Police Chief Eric Kroutil issued a statement Monday.
“I am shocked, saddened and angry that Sergeant Martin has tarnished the image of the Porterville Police Department by his actions,” the statement said. “His actions in no way reflect the values of the department or its employees and will not be tolerated.”
In the statement, police said Boudreaux contacted Kroutil right after the arrest and that both Boudreaux and Kroutil “are committed to a fair and unbiased investigation of this incident.”
Porterville police will also conduct an internal investigation to determine if any policy violations were committed by Martin, who has been placed on paid administrative leave. He is a 12-year veteran of the department. (Update: Porterville police announced Oct. 2 that Martin was contacted by detectives on Sept. 18. He refused to answer questions and resigned from the department, police said.)
While Kroutil said he believes the incident is an isolated one, the entire program will be reviewed to make sure that’s the case.