Kensington top cop bounced amid scandal

Amid controversy over the handling of an investigation into a police sergeant’s misconduct last year, the Kensington Town Board voted Monday night not to extend its contract with its police chief, the board announced Tuesday.

The board decided during a closed session meeting not to extend the contract for police Chief Greg Harman, who also acts as the small community’s general manager, past May 31. His employment with Kensington will end June 1.

Harman recently came under fire for his handling of an investigation into allegations of inappropriate conduct by Sgt. Keith Barrow. According to the Chronicle, Barrow had his service revolver stolen by a prostitute after the two allegedly spent the night together last May in a Reno hotel.

Harman allowed Barrow to continue working with the department for months after learning of the allegations. The incident was first reported to Harman last May, but Barrow remained on the force while the chief looked into it.

Barrow was handed down an unspecified discipline in January, according to a board press release issued last week. During Monday’s meeting, the board also considered new allegations against Barrow stemming from his involvement in a West Contra Costa Narcotics Enforcement Team raid of a Mill Valley store in 2011.

A federal civil rights complaint filed last September alleges the team did not have sufficient evidence for the raid, which cost the plaintiff, David McDonald, his business. He also alleges he was mistreated while in custody.

Tensions between citizens and police have been rising for years in the small affluent community near the Berkeley hills, according to Kensington resident and retired English professor Jim Hausken, who unsuccessfully ran for the board in 2012:

“I think the extreme protectiveness and almost adulation of the Police Department has allowed lots of problems. …¬†Hopefully this will make people more alert about what’s going on and demanding a little more responsibility from the police.”