Manteca ousts first female police chief, former chief calls firing ‘simply wrong’

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MANTECA, Calif. (KTXL) — Manteca’s first female police chief has been ousted by the city after just three years on the job. 

Jodie Estarziau has been the subject of a months-long internal investigation after a five-page letter of grievances and complaints were sent to the city anonymously. 

Former Manteca Police Chief David Bricker, who served from 2008 to 2012, is questioning why the city decided to fire Estarziau. 

“She has been with the city of Manteca for 25 years without any disciplinary action of any kind. Her performance as an employee is exemplary. She has been loyal honest and honorable and what has happened to her here is simply wrong,” Bricker told FOX40. “She’s run the department well. She’s done all of the things that you would expect her to do.”

City officials confirmed the investigation into Estarziau has concluded but did not release the findings. 

Bricker said Estarziau shared the report with him.

“I have read the final report. The final report basically says that there was no, no finding of wrongdoing, that there was no cause for any disciplinary action,” Bricker said.

Manteca Mayor Benjamin Cantu declined an interview but sent FOX40 the following statement:

“City policy prohibits my office or that of other Councilmembers from commenting on the specifics of this investigation. This investigation has concluded and our City is now moving forward. Our city remains committed to providing the highest levels of public safety that will keep Manteca’s residents and neighborhoods safe.”

Manteca Mayor Benjamin Cantu

Bricker said the investigation had nothing to do with Estarziau’s firing. 

“The city released her pursuant to, as they’re calling it, her at-will status. I was the police chief, as I said. Department heads in city of Manteca are not now nor have they ever been at-will employees,” Bricker explained.

Bricker said he wants the city to treat her fairly and publicly clear her name. 

Some residents posted to social media a call for the city to reinstate Estarziau and encouraged others to write letters of support for her to the city. Those letters are expected to be read into the record at Tuesday night’s council meeting.

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