Unstableheim: Embattled Anaheim Police Chief Raul Quezada Retires Effective Immediately

Anaheim Police Chief Raul Quezada is retiring, effective today, according to a press release issued by the City of Anaheim a few minutes ago. Deputy Chief Julian Harvey will take over as Acting Chief.

The city press release touted his tenure:

“Quezada, Anaheim’s first Latino chief, was appointed interim chief in May 2013 and appointed chief in December 2013. He leaves after building and strengthening the department’s ties with Anaheim’s neighborhoods, businesses and visitors.

“Raul’s leadership was instrumental in rebuilding trusting relationships in many or our priority neighborhoods, leading the Orange County Register to recognize him as one of the county’s 50 most influential people,” Mayor Tom Tait said. “He has overseen critical cultural and operational changes that have brought the department closer to those it serves, and I thank him for his service to Anaheim.”

With Quezada’s retirement, Deputy Chief Julian Harvey has been appointed acting chief. A recruitment for a new chief is expected to begin in the near future.

Acting Anaheim Police Chief Julian Harvey

The sudden retirement announcement appears to have been precipitated by by an Anaheim Police Management Association (APMA) vote to “recognize” the overwhelming August 2012 “no-confidence” vote by the Anaheim Police Association (APA). The APA represents rank-and-file officers; the APMA represents the department’s five captains and 20 lieutenants.

In effect, the associations representing every sworn officer in the APD expressed “no confidence” in Chief Quezada.

Two minutes before we received the city’s press release announcing Quezada’s retirement, we received an APA press release noting the APMA vote, calling for Quezada’s exit and replacement by Deputy Chief Harvey:

“Different group, same verdict: It’s time for Anaheim Police Chief Raul Quezada to retire, resign, or step down immediately. Statements taken today by the Anaheim Police Management Association (APMA) also show no confidence in the city’s top law-enforcement officer.

“The Executive Board of the APMA and a majority of the members recognize the actions shown by the Anaheim Police Association (APA) on the Vote of No Confidence (VONC) against Anaheim Police Chief Raul Quezada,” said APMA President Willie Triplett, a Lieutenant in the Anaheim Police Department.

“Further, it is imperative that a change with the office of Chief of Police occur immediately, and the interim Chief of Police be Julian Harvey. Currently, Julian is the Deputy Chief of Police who knows all facets of our department and our community. We are the senior level managers and represent all who work with and support the Chief of Police. Now is the time for such change.

“After this change, the future will be brighter for our beloved Department and we will be going forward to be proactive and look forward to working closer with the APA. We will never be divided on major issues and wanted to show all what a united department and groups can do.”

Following the August “no confidence,” Chief Quezada filed a hostile work environment complaint with the city, claiming department subordinates and city staff conspired to undermine his command, going to so far as to accuse a senior city official of spreading a rumor that he was gay. It had been widely expected to be followed by a lawsuit, but the retirement agreement nixes that possibility.

While Quezada could count on the support of Mayor Tom Tait and Councilman Jose F. Moreno, speculation that he was destined for the door continued to intensify.  Orange County’s two largest cities have lost their police chiefs this year following police union campaign’s for the ouster.  Santa Ana Police Chief Carlos Rojas resigned in April, claiming he was forced out by union pressure. He filed a lawsuit against the city in September 2017.

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