Westminster Police Chief On ‘Stress Leave’

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Westminster Police Chief Kevin Baker has been on a medical leave since Oct. 14, which councilwoman Margie Rice characterized as an “administrative stress leave” at a City Council meeting in December.

City Manager Eddie Manfro later clarified that Baker is on a “work-related medical leave,” and is being paid full salary through worker’s compensation regulations, although he could not comment on Baker’s condition.

It is unclear when Baker, who was appointed chief in 2012, will return to work, Manfro said. He’s openly contemplated retirement in recent months.

Deputy Chief Dan Schoonmaker has served as Acting Police Chief in Baker’s absence.

At a Dec. 9 council meeting, Rice questioned whether Baker’s name should be listed on the agenda if he is not personally presenting items. Rice later declined to comment on Baker’s absence.

“I’m not supposed to make any comments – I have been reprimanded for that,” Rice said.

Contact Thy Vo at tvo@voiceofoc.org  or follow her on Twitter @thyanhvo.

  • LFOldTimer

    Is there anything going right in Westminster? What a disaster zone. That town needed an across the board recall yesterday. One bad news hit after another. And if something good happened I think Thy would surely report it. Have any Boy Scouts helped an old lady cross Brookhurst lately?

    • Jerry Howard

      The entire City Council looks like a nervous breakdown amusement park. Westminster should be roped off and we should charge admission for the show.

      • LFOldTimer

        Admittedly I’m no protege of Sigmund Freud. But I don’t understand how a person could go through decades of street level police work and not stress out to the point of having to leave the job – but after being appointed to ‘Chief’ feels the need to go out on “administrative stress leave”. I’m sure there’s a good explanation for it – but it’s always puzzled me since it seems to be a rather common phenomenon in the police chief ranks. Didn’t a former Fullerton police chief step down for the same general reason? Maybe a reporter at Psychology Today could author an article on it. It would be interesting to learn more.