Bill Hunt
Bill Hunt
Christopher Victorio / OC Weekly

Will New Fullerton City Council Appoint Ex-Sheriff's Deputy Bill Hunt as Chief of Police?

[July 4 UPDATE at end] Bill Hunt was one of the few Orange County Sheriff's Department (OCSD) deputies who had the cojones to publicly stand against the corruption of Mike Carona, our sheriff turned convicted felon and present day resident of a federal prison in Colorado.

For having ethics and common decency, Hunt saw Carona blatantly sabotage his career before FBI and IRS agents arrested him, a jury convicted him and U.S. District Court Judge Andrew J. Guilford sent him away as a scumbag who abused his public office.

But even after it was clear that Carona was a demented crook and Hunt--who served as the popular chief of police in San Clemente--had been wronged, our board of supervisors has strenuously fought a lawsuit the deputy brought against the OCSD for Carona's illegal retaliation.

After Hunt left the department he launched a successful private detective firm, but there's no doubt that the inability of Orange County's leaders to do the right thing has cost him financially and smeared his reputation.

There are rumors that justice may finally find Hunt.

In June, Fullerton voters recalled a majority of their city council, three members who'd let the police department run wild and showed callous indifference to the gruesome July 2011 police killing of Kelly Thomas, a unarmed homeless man.

Next week, three new councilmen--Travis Kiger, Greg Sebourn and Doug Chaffee--will likely get sworn in and consider revamping the disgraced Fullerton Police Department.

I know from past interviews that Kiger, Sebourn and previously elected councilman Bruce Whitaker have been solid Hunt backers in other forums.

Earlier this week, Tony Bushala's influential Friends For Fullerton's Future blog that advocated for the recall began to call for Hunt to take over the Fullerton PD from Acting Chief Dan Hughes.

Yesterday, Kiger listed hiring a new police chief as one of his priorities.

Does this mean Hunt will get the job? Who knows? Many entrenched OC Republicans hate him because he's not a knee-jerk lemming to party leadership. Local liberals fret over his ties to controversial Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

For his part, the conservative San Clemente resident tells me that he'd be honored to assume command of the department but declined an interview on the topic.

Stay tuned.

UPDATE, July 4: The Friends For Fullerton's Future blog reported that the new city council discussed hiring a police chief but took no further action on the topic at its first meeting on Tuesday.

(Go HERE to read my 2010 profile of Hunt during his unsuccessful effort to defeat Sandra Hutchens in the last sheriff's race.)

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