The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Local News

December 20, 2013

Officer accused of DWI resigns

Charges still pending against 20-year police veteran

(Continued)

The salary range for Mankato police officers is between about $51,000 and about $63,000, based on experience. Padilla earned more than $72,000 this year, including his base wage (about $30 per hour), longevity, overtime and holiday pay, according to city records. As of the beginning of December, he also received another $26,500 in fringe benefits including about $10,000 that was contributed to his pension with the Police Employees Retirement Association.

Padilla could not be reached for comment Friday.

Padilla's long career with the department includes two written reprimands and three letters of appreciation, most issued during the 1990s.

The most recent reprimand was issued June 5, 2012, after he crashed a squad car while responding to a report of a fight at Land of Memories Park on May 6, 2012. An accident review committee determined the crash, which didn't involve injuries, was preventable.

"The rate of speed in which you were responding and the distraction with checking your siren button left you incapable of controlling the vehicle while making a turn," the written reprimand said. "While thankfully no personal injures occurred, there was potential of harming yourself and/or others."

The other reprimand was issued Aug. 7, 1997. It said Padilla disobeyed an order by not completing an assault report in a timely manner before being off for four days.

He received letters of appreciation in 1995, 1996 and 1997. They were for working with the victim in an assault that evolved into a standoff, a busy work week that involved two drive-by shootings and mudslides caused by flooding, and helping a lost child from St. James be reunited with his family, respectively.

Padilla also was investigated in 1999 while he was working undercover with the Minnesota River Valley Drug Task Force. The wife of an informant who was murdered accused him of providing the informant's name to the drug dealer who killed her husband. An investigation led by Deputy Director Matt Westermayer, who was the department's detective commander at the time, determined the informant's identity had not been compromised by Padilla.

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