John Welter, Controversial Anaheim Police Chief, Retires

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Chief Welter
Another non-April Fool's announcement that begged a rubbing of the eyes: Anaheim Police Chief John Welter announced his retirement today. His 42-year career in law enforcement will come to an end effective May 16, 2013. Before taking over for Chief Roger Baker in Anaheim nine years ago, Welter spent a majority of his time with the San Diego Police Department.

"Chief Welter's dedication to the City of Anaheim is to be commended, and on behalf of the entire City Council, our thanks for his service to Anaheim's residents, businesses and guests over these past nine years," Anaheim Mayor Tom Tait says in a city press release.

Those nine years, though, were marked with many controversial officer-involved shootings that culminated in riots last summer.

No mention of the tumultuous times is made in an announcement released today by Anaheim bureaucrats. In its send-off, the city instead hails what they call his innovative practices such as the forming of a Chief's Advisory Board, the establishment of the Anaheim Family Justice Center, and an emphasis on community orientated policing.

In the end, none of those approaches were able to stem the tide of mistrust between law enforcement and the city's barrios and poorer areas that boiled over out into the streets on July 24, 2012. In a press conference, Welter claimed at the time that the social unrest was fueled by an overwhelming presence of "outsiders" and "anarchists." A heavily militarized response to protests on July 29, 2012 followed harnessing further criticism of the department.

The politically savvy chief was able to largely avoid organized calls for his removal though and, as such, calls it a career on his own terms.

Welter's departure, which follows Deputy Chief Craig Hunter's own retirement late last year,  comes in the wake of the Orange County District Attorney's office finding that Anaheim police officer Nick Bennallack was justified in the fatal July 21, 2012 shooting of Manuel Diaz. The news also arrives at a time when demands for a civilian review board for police oversight in Anaheim get louder and louder.

No word has been given as to who will succeed him as Chief, though Deputy Chief Raul Quezada has been seen by Welter's side ever since being promoted last Fall like a loyal apprentice. What direction the Anaheim Police Department takes after Welter remains to be seen.

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5 comments
january3
january3

Duane Roberts"Anaheim Investigator" has posted on his blog documents between Anaheim Police and Rusty Kennedy, executive director of the Orange County Human Relations Commission showing Anaheim PD gave Rusty Kennedy $10,000 for sending persons from Orange County Human Relations Commission into the Anna Drive neighborhood to obtain personal info on its residents using the guise of improving police-community relations. The info gained by the Orange County Human Relations commission was given to Anaheimn PD and in exchange Anaheim PD gave Rusty Kennedy a $10,000 check

chezvern
chezvern

He has looked miserable and exhausted this past year.  I think he was a figurehead and politician more than hands-on chief.  Remember how he claimed to be surprised by his own force's militarized response at the protests on the weekend following July 24?  He was either lying, or totally clueless.  Either way, how could we believe him when he claimed that police misconduct is properly dealt with, when he's either dishonest or totally detached and uninvolved?

I hope Quezada can, and wants to, bring the force into line.  We'll see.  Either way we need a Citizen's Review Board.

18usc241
18usc241 topcommenter

Deputy Chief Raul Quezada - were you an Anaheim police officer during the Randall Gaston period? 

Dennis210
Dennis210

"The citizens have a right to protect themselves from the police". OCDA Tony Rackaukas on the John and Ken show (2011) after the Kelly Thomas police murder by cop. = Complete BS of course since he's PROTECTING the cops.

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