Derek Hendry, a former Lieutenant of the Willits Police Department, is under investigation by the Lake County Sheriff’s Office which served a search warrant on his Ukiah home.
Lake County Sheriff’s Office Public Information Officer Lauren Berlinn told us that LCSO’s Major Crimes Unit is conducting the investigation serving the search warrant on Hendry’s Ukiah home on August 5, 2022.
Berlinn said, “This is a continuing investigation, and charges have not been referred to the District Attorney’s Office either in Lake or in Mendocino County.”
Due to the ongoing nature of the investigation, Berlinn told us she could not comment on “the nature of the charges, the contents of the search warrant, or other elements of the investigation at this time.”
We reached out to Willits Police Chief Fabian Lizarraga, the head of the police force where Hendry once served as a lieutenant, who said his ability to comment was limited but confirmed the active criminal investigation.
Chief Lizarraga sought the assistance of the Lake County Sheriff’s Office needing an independent agency to conduct the criminal investigation. Looking to an outside agency allowed him to thwart any transparency or conflict of interest issues that might arise.
During his career in local law enforcement, Derek Hendry has served as a Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office deputy and rose up in the ranks of the Willits Police Department becoming a lieutenant.
Hendry was a key player named in a civil suit filed by former WPD Chief Alexis Blaylock. Blaylock was hired as the Willits Police Chief in August 2020 just over a month after taking the helm because she reportedly faced a hostile work environment, harassment, sexism, and racism.
Hendry allegedly openly expressed his opposition to serving under Blaylock due to her gender and race. Blaylock was allegedly told by Willits City management she would be meeting with them and Hendry to assess “how Blaylock was doing.” This civil suit asserts these meetings indicated that “Hendry, Chief Blaylock’s white male subordinate, would be instrumental in evaluating Chief Blaylock’s performance.”