Former deputy hired as Dos Palos police officer

A former Merced County sheriff’s deputy has been hired as an officer for the Dos Palos Police Department.

John Mathis, who resigned from the Sheriff’s Department in April 2012 after nearly 16 years, was sworn in as a patrolman on Tuesday and is starting his field training with the eight-officer department, Chief Barry Mann confirmed.

“I feel he will be a good fit in my program here,” Mann said.

Mathis was hired by the Sheriff’s Department in March 1996, county spokesman Mike North confirmed. Now 41, Mathis was investigated in 2010 for an on-duty allegation of domestic violence, eventually charged with a misdemeanor and removed from his job. He was accused of pushing his wife, a dispatcher with the Sheriff’s Department, on May 26, 2010. Both Mathis and his wife denied the allegation, authorities said.

The Merced County District Attorney’s Office dismissed the misdemeanor charge against Mathis on April 13, 2011, and Mathis attended counseling classes, according to Merced County Superior Court records. Mathis appealed his dismissal from the Sheriff’s Department and was reinstated on Sept. 1, 2011. He resigned eight months later.

During his tenure at the department, which included stints with the SWAT and STAR teams and with the K-9 unit, Mathis was named as a defendant in numerous civil suits alleging excessive force that cost Merced County more than $400,000.

Mann said he does not believe any of those issues will affect Mathis’ time at the Dos Palos Police Department.

“I reviewed those situations and had numerous meetings and conversations,” Mann said. “I believe that under my leadership he will serve the Dos Palos community very well.”

Mathis was also decorated by the Sheriff’s Department in 2009 and awarded the Medal of Valor, according to Merced Sun-Star archives.