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Police Chief Is Facing Removal

March 13, 2004|Erin Ailworth | Times Staff Writer

The police chief of Palos Verdes Estates is not expected to return from a forced absence, city officials and his attorney said Friday.

Chief Timm Browne, 54, was placed on paid administrative leave Feb. 20, said City Manager Jim Hendrickson, who declined to elaborate on Browne's removal because of an ongoing internal investigation.

Browne, who has been with the department for six years, has not yet been told why he is being investigated, his Palo Alto-based attorney Robert Aaronson said.

Browne declined to comment on the situation. As chief, he earns from $7,200 to $9,000 a month, and is provided city housing. If he is permanently dismissed, he will have 90 days to vacate his bluff-top home.

Meanwhile, Browne "is saddened, he is concerned, he is worried about how things are going to play out, both for himself and the jurisdiction," Aaronson said.

Browne came to Palos Verdes Estates from Rialto in 1998, when he was appointed police chief by Hendrickson. "He was high-energy, innovative and an idea person," Hendrickson said.

Browne spent about 25 years with the city of Orange, starting as a patrol officer and ending as a lieutenant. He also was interim chief in Rialto for the two years before his move to Palos Verdes Estates. According to Aaronson, Browne left the Rialto post amid tension between the department and the City Council. Hendrickson said that rumblings of misconduct by Browne had been recognized and eventually discounted by the city.

Former Rialto City Councilman Ed Scott said Browne had a history of inappropriate behavior, including a conspiracy to arrest Scott and harassing phone calls. Scott has filed a lawsuit against Browne and the cities of Palos Verdes Estates and Rialto, alleging involvement in a conspiracy to arrest Scott and making harassing phone calls, among other charges.

Aaronson said he was confident that Browne's current situation had nothing to do with Scott's allegations.

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