Costa Mesa Police Chief Chris Shawkey and Capt. Ron Smith have been placed on administrative leave, City Manager Allan Roeder has announced in an e-mail to police personnel
Capt. Les Gogerty, who has been with the department since 1985, will serve as interim commander.
"Police Department personnel, please be advised, as of this date Chief Shawkey and Captain Smith are on leave," Roeder wrote in an e-mail Thursday. "As this involves potential personnel matters, I would respectfully ask that you not speculate nor discuss this matter out of respect for these two individuals and the professional integrity of the Costa Mesa Police Department."
Neither Shawkey nor Smith could be reached for comment. Shawkey joined the department in 2007 and was recruited from the Phoenix Police Department.
Smith has been with the department about 30 years and oversaw the investigation of a double murder this year.
High-ranking city and police officials said Shawkey had been either absent or away from the office a good deal of time this year. They did not know if that was related to Roeder's decision to place the chief on leave.