ON SPECIAL ASSIGNMENT: In an odd career move, ‘former’ Anaheim Deputy Police Chief Craig Hunter is now working in the City Manager’s office where his “official title” is still–surprise, surprise–“Deputy Police Chief,” something confirmed to me today by Ruth Ruiz, Public Information Officer for the city.
In the aftermath of officer-involved shootings and “civil unrest” rocking Anaheim, a very quiet transition of power has taken place within the city’s police department.
A little over a month ago, Craig Hunter, then-Deputy Police Chief, who literally seemed to be everywhere throughout the summer, suddenly just dropped out of sight, as if he had vanished into thin air. In his place, Captain Raul Quezada, a sixteen-year veteran of the force, was made Anaheim Police Chief John Welter’s right-hand man.
The transition was made with little fanfare or hoopla, with no press releases or announcements being issued anywhere, not even on the internet. In fact, if you go to the Anaheim Police Department’s website, you’ll discover that it still lists Hunter as Deputy Police Chief.
So what happened to Hunter? Did he retire? After all, his profile on Facebook does have a photograph of a boat sitting at a dock. Or was he terminated for some undisclosed reason?
The answer is neither. In an odd career move, Hunter has moved out of Anaheim Police Department headquarters and now is working a few blocks east in the City Manager’s office where his “official title” is still–surprise, surprise–“Deputy Police Chief,” something confirmed to me today by Ruth Ruiz, Public Information Officer for the city.
This revelation was first brought to my attention last Friday in a brief telephone conversation I had with a receptionist at the Office of Police Chief. While quizzing her about Quezada, she informed me Hunter was working in the City Manager’s office. Curious, I decided to ring them up to find out more.
The dialogue went something like this:
“Is Craig Hunter working there?” I asked.
“Yes, he is,” replied the woman who answered the phone.
“What does he do?” I inquired.
“Oh, he works on special projects.”
“What kind of special projects?”
“I actually don’t know, sir. Who is this?”
“My name is Duane Roberts. I’m a community activist.”
“Do you wish to speak to him?”
“No,” I replied. “But can you tell me what his title is?”
“Yes, just a moment.”
I hear typing in the background, followed by a brief pause.
“He’s Deputy Police Chief,” was the response.
My jaw dropped.
“Deputy Police Chief?!? I just contacted the Office of Police Chief and they told me that Raul Quezada is the new Deputy Police Chief?”
“I don’t know, sir. But this is what we have him listed here.”
I graciously thanked her for her time and then proceeded to call the Office of Police Chief for the second time in a half hour.
“Hi, this is Duane Roberts. I just spoke with the City Manager’s office and they told me that Craig Hunter was still Deputy Police Chief.”
“Well, I don’t know what they call him over there,” said the receptionist, now sounding a bit annoyed I had contacted her again. “But across the hall from where I’m sitting is the Deputy Police Chief’s office and the man in it is Raul Quezada.”
In the conversation I had with Ruiz, she confirmed that Hunter was now working in the City Manager’s office and that his title is still “Deputy Police Chief.” She said he was “on special assignment” and was involved in “community outreach,” which she defined as “bringing community programs to Anaheim.”
When I asked Ruiz if he was still on the payroll of the Anaheim Police Department, she responded: “Good question. I’ll have to get back with you on that.”
For purposes of disclosure, Duane Roberts is an Anaheim City Council candidate.
UPDATE: On Wednesday, October 3, 2012 at 10:42 a.m., Ruth Ruiz, Public Information Officer for the City of Anaheim, contacted me via telephone to let me know that Craig Hunter’s salary is still being paid for out of the Anaheim Police Department budget.