Westminster police chief placed on leave amid investigation

ByABC7.com staff via KABC logo
Wednesday, February 20, 2019
Ralph Ornelas became Westminster's police chief on March 13, 2017.

WESTMINSTER, Calif. (KABC) -- The police chief of Westminster, Ralph Ornelas, has been placed on administrative leave amid an investigation into "possible policy violations," city officials said.

Ornelas was placed on leave Sunday. The city did not disclose the nature of the investigation or possible violations, citing state law restricting information on personnel matters.

Ornelas has been police chief in the Orange County city since March 13, 2017. He had previously spent most of his career with the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, retiring as a commander in 2016.

Deputy Chief Mark Lauderback will serve as acting chief during the investigation.

"The City has every confidence in the Westminster Police Department and their ability to continue to maintain the outstanding level of service our community has come to expect," assistant city manager Chet Simmons said.