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Anaheim police chief to step down

April 01, 2013|By Nicole Santa Cruz
  • Anaheim Police Chief John Welter will be stepping down.
Anaheim Police Chief John Welter will be stepping down. (Al Seib / Los Angeles Times )

The police chief of Orange County’s largest city has announced that he will retire in May, ending a 42-year career in law enforcement.

John Welter, 64, began his career at the San Diego Police Department. He was the second in command there before he joined the Anaheim force, according to a city statement. 

The department has been widely criticized in the last year over several fatal police shootings, including two that involved Latino men in the city's poorest neighborhoods. Protesters clashed with authorities over several days and some called for Welter's resignation.

In a city statement, Welter was praised for his work with residents, including his participation in more than 150 community meetings.  He is also credited with establishing an advisory board and helping create a family justice center.

“It takes strong leadership to keep Anaheim safe, and John Welter has provided that and more,” said Mayor Tom Tait in a statement.

Welter took the helm of the department in the midst of a scandal alleging that the city ordered police surveillance of local activists.

State investigators later found no evidence that police spied on city residents in the late 1990s, but the report criticized the previous police chief for ordering background reports on Latino activists who had accused police of misconduct.

Welter’s retirement will be effective May 16. A successor has not been named.

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Twitter: @nicolesantacruz

nicole.santacruz@latimes.com

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