Escondido police chief on paid leave

Jim Maher investigated for personnel issue

ESCONDIDO, Calif. - Escondido Police Chief Jim Maher has been placed on paid leave pending investigation of a personnel issue.

Lt. Chris Wynn, spokesman for the department, confirmed the investigation to 10News.

The 57-year-old Jim Maher has been with the department for 32 years and has been in the lead position for six years. Maher also was a Marine based in Camp Pendleton.

He currently resides in Riverside County in the city of Murrieta.

In the past, Maher has been criticized  by Latino groups for the department's DUI/license checkpoints. Some claim he uses the checkpoints to target and detain illegal immigrants.

Wynn told 10News he could not elaborate on why the chief was placed on leave. But he said it is the first time he has seen this type of situation within the department.  

"If I say we can't comment... we don't know," said Wynn. "I mean all personnel matters are kept confidential, so we're not privy to that information even though it's the police department."

Assistant Police Chief Cory Moles, who has been with the department for more than 26 years, has been named as acting chief.

10News will continue to update this story as more information becomes available.

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