Kensington police chief fired over scandal

Amy Hollyfield Image
ByAmy Hollyfield KGO logo
Wednesday, February 18, 2015
Kensington Police Chief Greg Harman.
Kensington Police Chief Greg Harman.

KENSINGTON, Calif. (KGO) -- The small East Bay town of Kensington is cutting ties with its police chief after a scandal involving a Nevada prostitute. The city's governing board fired Chief Greg Harman on Monday night for his handling of an incident involving Sergeant Keith Barrow, who's accused of having his gun, badge, and ammunition stolen by a prostitute in Reno last May.

On Tuesday morning, there was no comment from the police department or board in Kensington. But many residents who say they lost confidence in the chief for his handling of the incident are talking.

"Hallelujah is all I can say," said former Kensington Board Member Cathie Kosel

There are some happy people in Kensington now that their police chief has been fired. The governing board voted Monday night to terminate him after a scandal involving one of his officers and a prostitute in Nevada.

"I sat on this board for four years," Kosel said. "It's terrible what has happened to this town and I think the healing began last night."

Last May, Barrow had his gun, badge, handcuffs and ammunition stolen by a prostitute in Nevada while he slept.

Kensington police Sergeant Keith Barrow is under investigation after he allegedly hired a prostitute who stole his gun, badge, and handcuffs.

Barrows said 26-year-old Christina Taylor drugged him. The next day, the Washoe Co. Sheriff's Department says Taylor's pimp, Tashanta Grant, shot himself in the leg with Barrow's gun during an argument at a pawn shop.

"The thing that bothers me most is leaving your gun around," said Berkeley resident Stan Taylor. "You know, the sex thing is a questionable thing. But the leaving your gun around or carrying it around in those situations not good," said Berkeley resident Stan Taylor.

Others criticized how the chief handled the case. He let the sergeant stay on active duty for eight months while the case was investigated. Some think Barrow should have been placed on paid leave and then fired.

"Sounds like it's the only thing that needs to be done," said Kensington resident Tzena Bell. "He needs to go if he's going to cover things up in the department, such serious things like that."

Kosel added, "We need good public safety and honest top cop in this town."

The chief was paid $262,000 in cash and benefits. His last day on the job will be May 31.

Barrow is still employed by the police department. But residents say they hope he's the next one to go.