Huntington Beach Interim Police Chief Steps Down, Citing Divisiveness

Huntington Beach Interim Police Chief Kelly Rodriguez tendered her resignation last week, citing fierce political divisions at City Hall and within the Huntington Beach Police Department.

“After 24 years with the city of Huntington Beach, I have decided that now is the right time to retire,” she said in a statement. “I have loved being part of this amazing police department and had been looking forward to serving as the acting chief. However, there is an unhealthy level of divisiveness right now in our community, and I have no desire to be thrust into the middle of the political fights that are currently occurring.”

Fifteen people are vying for three seats on the City Council. The Huntington Beach Police Management Assn. supports Tito Ortiz, Casey McKeon, and Gracey Van Der Mark and has sent out mailers lambasting candidate Dan Kalmick. But Kalmick has been endorsed by the Police Officers Assn. The fight has gotten downright nasty at times.

“As the last couple of days have unfolded, acting Chief Rodriguez decided she wanted to retire rather than become engaged in the current political divisiveness that’s occurring within the Police Department,” said City Manager Oliver Chi, who appointed Rodriguez to the interim chief position last year. “Really, there’s some conflict on our City Council as well that she just didn’t want to be part of.”

He called her “a model of integrity.”

Rodriguez will step down on November 13.