James Mitchell "Mitch" Waller, Recently Retired Westminster Police Chief, Funeral Services Set

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See the update at the end of this post on details of funeral services for former Westminster police chief James Mitchell "Mitch" Waller.

WPD-chief-Mitch-Waller.jpg
Mitch Waller, R.I.P.
ORIGINAL POST, JULY 1, 11:07 A.M.: James Mitchell "Mitch" Waller was only promoted to police chief in Westminster in December of 2009, but he since has not only retired but, sadly, died.

Waller, 53, of Mission Viejo was pronounced dead at the scene after being struck from behind by a car while biking on Laguna Canyon Road. Waller was biking in the southbound lanes with Kevin Beach, 48, of Fullerton, who was also struck and hospitalized in serious condition.

A 25-year-old Irvine woman who drove the white 2010 Toyota Corolla that struck the pair Friday morning was questioned at the scene and released as the investigation continues, according to the California Highway Patrol, which does not suspect driving under the influence at this time.

Waller, who joined the Westminster force in 1984, was an avid cyclist who often participated in rides to raise money for the families of fallen officers.

He was promoted to police chief by the Westminster City Council with the retirement of Andrew Hall. Waller had been acting chief since 2005, when Hall was named interim city manager.

Westminster Tabs New Police Chief

A graduate of the FBI National Academy in Quantico, Virginia, Waller got his bachelor's degree in Biochemistry and Cellular Biology with a minor in Economics from the University of San Diego. He also earned a juris doctor from Chapman University Law School in Orange and was a member of the State Bar of California.

His assignments while at Westminster PD included chief's adjutant, SWAT commander, traffic sergeant, patrol operations lieutenant and detective commander. He was promoted to captain in November 2002.

Among his most challenging moments as chief came in April 2010 when his detective Anthony Nicholas Orban was arrested for abducting a waitress leaving work in Ontario and raping her at gunpoint nearby in Fontana.

Anthony Nicholas Orban, Ex-Westminster PD Detective, Blames Rape of Waitress on Meds for Stress From Iraq War

The day of his sentencing, Orban's body was found hanging in his cell, and the coroner later determined suicide was the cause.

UPDATE, JULY 8, 12:16 P.M.: Funeral services for James "Mitch" Waller are open to the public and set for 1 p.m. Wednesday at Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa, 3800 S. Fairview Ave., Santa Ana.

A memorial website has been established by the Waller family to leave condolences and learn how to provide donations for widow Sally Waller and the couple's two children. Visit imorial.com/MitchWaller for details.

Email: mcoker@ocweekly.com. Twitter: @MatthewTCoker. Follow OC Weekly on Twitter @ocweekly or on Facebook!


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21 comments
mrsron89
mrsron89

I personally knew him, and he was such a nice person. I cant believe this happened to him! Condolences to the family!

patriarchy_works
patriarchy_works

Condolences and sympathy to the officers family and friends.  Sad that the incompetent driver will only get a slap on the wrist (if that) and be able to menace others on the roads for the rest of her long life.

kjzoking
kjzoking

Whomever is in charge of this blog please I beg you please out of respect for Mitch's family remove all disrespectful comments immediately. This is heartbreaking and tragic for family and friends who all were blessed to have had Mitch in their lives.

kjzoking
kjzoking

Whomever is responsible for monitoring this blog please I beg you please remove the disrespectful comments. This is a heartbreaking and tragic loss for family and friends who all were truly blessed to have had Mitch in their lives.

vegandawg23
vegandawg23 topcommenter

Like 90% of people out there text and drive. Look around you sometime. It's especially annoying at stop lights now when everyone's playing with their phone and they don't realize the lights turned green. Anyways wonder if she was asian.

Donna Hilbert
Donna Hilbert

I would hate to think that his family saw the comments that seemed to take pleasure in the death of a human being who was simply out for a bike ride.

Andrew Cusumano
Andrew Cusumano

yeah, just saw that shit. Matt Coker does bring up a good point, though. as idiotic as the comments are, we can only point and laugh, or pity them (this is the more satisfying and stress relieving approach), unless we want to deny them the freedom that made America so great in the past.

Donna Hilbert
Donna Hilbert

Does anyone moderate the asinine comments on the blog itself? there are a few that need to be taken down for the incredible insensitivity.

18usc241
18usc241 topcommenter

Amazing how all these police Chiefs and Sheriffs here in the Big OC were FBI National Academy graduates. (Stan Knee/Brad Gates etc.) 

I sure hope that's not the reason why I was denied help from the Los Angeles division of the FBI last year. Considering the serious nature of this American citizen's complaints. 

My condolences to the family of this man. I can't say I have much to complain about with Westminster PD other than participation in the hide and seek game. 


sterling19
sterling19

Did anyone check to see if she was using her cellphone at the time 9 Xs outta 10... I bet she was on her cell phone Texting While Driving..

bruz1111
bruz1111

80% sure she was ( texting, makeup or on the cell) why I refuse to bike in the street any more, I raced road bikes and spent thousands of miles in So Cal on my road bike in the 80-90's never again !!!

n2bigmuscle
n2bigmuscle topcommenter

Such a sad loss but why do bikers and joggers think it's a good idea to be near moving vehicles?

Andrew Cusumano
Andrew Cusumano

what a tragedy.... as a cyclist in orange county, i can personally attest to the ignorance, or even apathy, of automobile users in regards to cyclist safety. they know nothing of right of way laws, take little to no care to move out of the way, park in bike lanes, and pass dangerously while on cell phones (cell phones actually make them virtually unaware of us completely). in short, they need to realize there are repercussions to irresponsible and unsafe driving habits; whether they come sooner or later, it WILL come back to you, and it WILL be too late by then. Accidents don't just happen by themselves, they're caused by inappropriate action or inaction.

tongue_twister_for_t
tongue_twister_for_t topcommenter

A graduate of the FBI National Academy in Quantico, Virginia, Waller got his bachelor's degree in Biochemistry and Cellular Biology with a minor in Economics from the University of San Diego.

SO WHY WAS HE A POLICE CHIEF?

Mitchell_Young
Mitchell_Young topcommenter

@vegandawg23 And you give me stick for being race-obsessed. But, by Jove, I was thinking the same thing matey.

MatthewTCoker
MatthewTCoker topcommenter

@Donna Hilbert I suspect if the chief were still here, he'd note he swore an oath to protect the U.S. Constitution, which guarantees the freedom of the speech, which includes the right to write and say incredibly stupid, insensitive things.

vegandawg23
vegandawg23 topcommenter

@Andrew Cusumano agreed. That's why I rarely ride on the street. Even riding on the sidewalk I got hit on Imperial Hwy last year. I suggest everyone ride on the sidewalk and demand dedicated bike lanes (not crap painted on the road but a separate lane with a divider). Too many illegals from countries where people can't drive, stoned and drunk people, girls texting their friends (who are they talking to at 8am?!?) , old people who don't like the way they look with glasses on so don't wear them, fat people who hate cyclists etc etc. Be safe out there folks. 

Mitchell_Young
Mitchell_Young topcommenter

@MatthewTCoker Land of the free and the home of the ____.

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