By Stacia Glenn, Staff Writer
Article Launched: 04/07/2007 12:00:00 AM PDT
The departure of two assistant chiefs for the California Highway Patrol's Inland Division comes in the midst of an ongoing investigation into accusations of misconduct.
Fran Clader, spokeswoman for CHP headquarters in Sacramento, confirmed Friday that assistant chiefs Mike Williams and Mike Maples are no longer employed by the department.
She declined to give specifics, citing personnel reasons and the Peace Officers Bill of Rights.
"I can't tell you why or if they were fired or retired or resigned or what," she said.
The men were placed on administrative leave about three weeks ago following claims of sexual harassment and other unethical behavior. Chief Jeff Talbott remains on paid leave.
Maples and Williams could not be reached for comment Friday.
Leslie Cunningham, Maples' wife, said her husband was not fired. He put in for retirement more than two weeks ago, before the start of the investigation, she said.
"(The CHP) would love for people to believe that something wrong has gone on, but all this brouhaha happened after he submitted his resignation," Cunningham said.
Maples, 58, served the department for 33 years. He was arrested in November on suspicion of driving while under the influence after he crashed into a parked car in his Reche Canyon driveway.
He is expected to be arraigned Thursday.
Maples' arrest is one in a long list of reasons two state legislators have requested a state audit of the CHP.
Senate Majority Leader Gloria Romero, D-Los Angeles, and Assemblywoman Bonnie Garcia, R-Cathedral City, have been vocal in their concern about the goings-on within CHP's management ranks.
They want an audit to look into the CHP's use of state-owned equipment, how many "whistle-blower" lawsuits the CHP is named in and how employee discipline differs for high-ranking supervisors versus the rank and file.
"We think the scandal tarnishes the image of a great law-enforcement agency," said Richard Harmon, Romero's chief of staff.
Clader said all allegations of misconduct are immediately investigated and that the CHP welcomes an audit of its operations and a review of its policies and procedures.
"We have been proactive in addressing any of these issues because we want to assure the public that we conduct business following all the laws," Clader said.
A Joint Legislative Audit Committee hearing has been scheduled for April 17.
It is unclear how long the investigation into the CHP's Inland Division will continue.
"We have a desire to complete the investigation quickly, but we conduct all investigations thoroughly so we take all the time needed," Clader said. In the meantime, Tim Clark from Sacramento will head the Inland Division, and Warren Stanley and Bob Clark have been assigned as acting assistant chiefs.
Have heard a little, and I mean a little, concerning the problems down here. The politicians will always attempt to make political hay over problems with any law enforcement agency, especially a state one. What will make all the difference is how CHP as an agency addresses the problems. CHP enjoys a well deserved nation wide reputation as an efficient, well trained, police organization.