portable metal detector

Chino Valley Fire District spent $4,000 on a portable metal detector, which will be used prior to board meetings amid allegations board member Winn Williams harasses staff members and shows up to fire district headquarters unannounced. 

Believing twice-censured Fire Board member Winn Williams’ behavior is growing more aggressive towards fire district staff, Chief Tim Shackelford had a portable metal detector stationed in the district lobby for use before board meetings.

The metal detector cost $4,000. It was paid for from the chief’s annual $25,000 discretionary fund. 

The chief said the metal detector will not be used on a day-to-day basis, but only to screen everyone attending a board meeting, including the five fire board members, fire district staff and the public.

Fire board members were told at least six weeks ago that the metal detector would be in place beginning at Wednesday’s meeting, Chief Shackelford said. 

“One of my most significant responsibilities is to provide for the safety of our personnel,” the chief told the board during a public meeting Wednesday night. “The security screening was implemented due to the behavior of Director Williams.”

Mr. Williams, who was elected to the board in November and had censures placed on him by the board in February and June, called the metal detectors ridiculous. 

“What you are doing is a waste of money and you know it’s a waste of money,” Mr. Williams told Chief Shackelford. “You are trying to make something out of nothing. There was never an incident. I don’t like what you are doing to me and I’ll be damn certain that I’d tell you that."

Chief Shackelford said Mr. Williams was turned away at the metal detector by security prior to the board’s closed session meeting around 4:15 p.m. Wednesday because he was carrying a pocketknife. 

“He stated (to the security officer) ‘I thought you were just checking for guns.’ Mr. Williams then left, put the knife in his vehicle and was then allowed to enter the board room,” Chief Shackelford said.

Chief Shackelford pointed out three times in the last two months where Mr. Williams allegedly defied the rules of his censure, including showing up at fire district headquarters without first getting approval from the chief.

Mr. Williams was in the parking lot of the fire administration building in Chino Hills on May 30 and shouted at two district staff members in a loud manner as they went to their cars. Chief Shackelford said. 

The chief also claimed Mr. Williams threw two folders at him that night as the fire board member left early from a special meeting at the fire district training center.

The chief recalled a June 3 incident, alleging Mr. Williams knocked on glass at the fire district’s headquarters in an aggressive manner, and later shouted at the chief, making accusations and derogatory statements. 

When Mr. Williams was told that a June 5 luncheon for a retiring deputy chief was a non-public event, the fire board member reportedly said, “I will be there” and law enforcement officials would have to “haul him off.”

Chief Shackelford said Mr. Williams showed up at the luncheon, sat in the lobby area for 45 minutes, walked to an employee entrance area, and tried to get inside using a security gate.

“He was in plain view of attendees for about five to seven minutes,” Chief Shackelford said. “I believe the aggressive nature of his behavior seems to be escalating.”

On Wednesday night, Mr. Williams asked Chief Shackelford if there were any threats in comments he’s made. 

“Specific to what,” the chief asked. 

“Everything that you talked about,” Mr. Williams said. “Did I threaten anybody? Did I threaten any kind of violence whatsoever?”

“You threatened to attend when you were directed not to by the board,” the chief responded. 

“Is that a violent thing?” Mr. Williams said. “I asked you if I threatened violence. Did I say anything that threatened violence? Did I tell anyone I was going to beat them? Or hurt them? Or hit them? Or knock them down? Or come and get them? Or something like that?”

The chief answered, “not that I am aware of.”

Mr. Williams told Chief Shackelford to do everyone a favor and stop paying for things that are not necessary.

“It’s not part of my nature to be violent,” Mr. Williams said. “Last thing I want to do is have something that goes on where there is a confrontation of someone beating the heck out of someone. It doesn’t happen. I don’t do that.”

Board president John DeMonaco and member Mike Kreeger agreed with the chief’s decision to implement the metal detectors.

“I applaud you for making sure the staff and the public is safe at all times,” Mr. Kreeger said. “That is your core responsibility above anything else you do.”

Mr. DeMonaco told Mr. Williams that people are concerned about him.

“You speak about bullyism,” Mr. DeMonaco said. “You are the bully with a lot of people and that’s the way it’s perceived. You can change and be more congenial towards people or you can be the bully that everybody perceives you are. It’s up to you.”

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