A 19-year veteran of the Fresno Police Department faces DUI, drug possession, and robbery charges, Fresno County District Attorney Lisa Smittcamp said at a Wednesday morning news conference.
Sgt. Donald J. Dinnell came under scrutiny after he crashed his patrol car in December in a parking lot near Highway 99 and Herndon Avenue.
“It’s not the job of a sergeant to steal drugs from victims,” said Fresno Police Chief Paco Balderrama, who led the news conference with Smittcamp.
Responding personnel initially thought that perhaps Dinnell was the victim of accidental fentanyl ingestion. He was treated with Narcan and taken to a hospital.
The crash occurred after a request for service from Target came into the police department, said Balderrama. With other officers busy on higher priority calls, Dinnell rolled to the store.
According to Balderrama, Dinnell tested positive for methamphetamine. Balderrama also said an investigation revealed that Dinnell took meth from a woman in a suspected robbery. The sergeant has been on administrative leave since the crash.
DA Reviewing Dinnell’s Cases
Smittcamp said that her office has begun looking into Dinnell’s cases.
“We will be looking in-depth at the details of all the cases that he has been involved in and would potentially be called as a witness on, and we will be examining those on a case-by-case basis,” the district attorney said.
However, as a supervisor, Smittcamp noted, he wasn’t often called on to testify in court.
Sgt. Donnie Dinnell, seen in this @abc30 photo after his promotion to sergeant in 2018, will be charged.
— Corin Hoggard (@corinhoggard) March 2, 2022