Officer Lira Points To The Nordell House Raid As a Consequence of Nepotism Within FPD
On October 20th 2010, Robyn Nordell and her family had a mistaken encounter with FPD when the department's narcotics unit mistakenly raided their home in search of a parollee living near by. Confusion from the officers on the address happened when officers raided Nordell's house from the rear entrance. The correct address was West of her house's location.
According to Ben Lira, the officer speaking to the press alleging nepotism within the department, this case points to an example where unqualified officers have been assigned to detail through favoritism. Officer Tim Petropulos, son of Captain John Petropulos, had been assigned to head the narcotics unit within a couple years of his career in the department, according to Lira.
Lira says he had been dispatched to the Nordell house following the mistaken forced entrance, and during his meeting urged Robyn Nordell to file a complaint with the department. Lira stated, "The narcotics detail is made up of the Captain's son, and his friends from college and high school. [Officers] were too young, inexperienced, and shouldn't have been entrusted with a detail with great responsibility".
All of the officers involved were under 25 years old at the time of the Nordell house raid. According to Lira, Tim Petropulos had only lasted three months at Anaheim PD before coming to Fullerton PD. Lira stated that there are precautions that these units take to prevent errors like what happened in the raid.
Lira said, "You need to have checks and balances. If you're going to have a rookie officer, you need to pair them with a senior officer. Those are the checks and balances that could have been done to prevent that, because [the Nordell House Raid] should never have happened".
In regards to whether the policy changes to the department after the raid had been an improvement, Lira stated that some of the recommendations were great.
"When anybody is going to make a recommendation on how you can do your work better, I think it would be foolish to not at least listen," says Lira. "I think that some of these recommendations were already in place. It's just the people that don't follow these policies are the ones that catch themselves in the situation they're in. Such as the captain's son's narcotics unit and how they raided the wrong house."
A source who wished to remain unidentied stated that two senior officers where involved in the raid, which contradicts Lira's claim that all officers involved were under 25 years of age. The source chose to not disclose the names of the senior officers.
Retired Officer Craig "CJ" Bradley provides his perspective as the senior officer during the Nordell mistaken entry.