Chief's job at Yuba College's police academy on the line
Rolfe Appel, director of Yuba College's administration of justice program, is on the chopping block and could lose his job next week, as questions continue to swirl about the future of the college's suspended police academy.
Administration officials will ask Yuba Community College District trustees on Wednesday not to renew Appel's contract, authorities confirmed.
Jacques Whitfied, the district's director of human resources, on Thursday confirmed Appel's job is in jeopardy during a public meeting among administrators, faculty and students at the Administration of Justice building.
Appel declined to comment on the apparent dismissal when contacted earlier this week and was out of the office Thursday at a training conference.
Chancellor Doug Houston declined to comment directly on Apple's departure.
"It's a personnel matter, and I can't discuss it," Houston said.
Yuba College President Kay Adkins said she wants to fill the position quickly.
"We'll do everything we can to get someone in place because this is a pivotal time for us," Adkins said.
Students and faculty expressed frustration about Appel's removal and anger regarding the ongoing suspended status of the Yuba College Police Academy.
"He was a one-man operation. If there was anything that ever needed to be done, he was the one that made sure it happened," said veteran college instructor Ron Turner.
Student Aaron Stallins was also dismayed, saying Appel worked hard and was dedicated to the students.
"He was always here, any time I was ever here, I'd see him, too," Stallins said. "He substituted for teachers a lot, too, and was always a very good teacher, too."
While no one at the college would comment on the reason for Appel's pending removal, evidence of Appel's strained relationship with Houston has spilled out publicly.
In January, Appel called the police academy delays "bizarre" and said there had been no recent discussions between college staff and the California Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training.
Two weeks later, Houston said that was simply not true and claimed not to know why Appel made those statements. Houston said the college had "a good relationship" with POST and said the college district had agreed to conduct a survey to determine if there is any future for a Yuba College Police Academy.
At Wednesday's meeting, attended by 20 people, Adkins said next week POST plans to submit a new set of guidelines for the college's survey.
The study will examine the current and future job market demands for all law enforcement agencies within the college district boundaries. At least part of that assessment will include more meetings between the college and local police agencies.
It is not known how long the study may take, which only seemed to fuel the mounting anger of would-be cadets and faculty.
"All those meetings have already been done over and over again," Turner said.
Instructor Damon Gil said he has been concerned about some recent statements from Houston in which the chancellor said he had "no preference" between establishing an academy in either Yuba or Woodland colleges.
Several people at Wednesday's meeting echoed those same concerns.
"There is no preconceived plan to move the academy to Woodland," Houston said. "What I meant was, I want this to be a data-driven decision. We want to find out exactly what the distribution of training needs will be geographically and weigh that against an evaluation of our resources before making a final decision."
Appel's contract is expected to be discussed next Wednesday at the campus in Linda during a closed session meeting of the board of trustees.
Several students are also expected to attend the meeting to express their support for reopening the academy.
CONTACT Rob Parsons at email@example.com or 749-4785. Find him on Facebook at /ADcrimebeat or on Twitter at @ADcrimebeat.