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MSJC Police Chief on Administrative Leave

John Ortega was actively serving as chief of police for nearly 10 months.

Mt. San Jacinto College's police chief, John Ortega, is on paid administrative leave, but it is unclear why.

Ortega, who took the position as the top cop March 1, 2011, was on leave as of Dec. 15, MSJC Spokesperson Karin Marriott confirmed. She declined to comment on why, as it was a personnel matter, she said.

Ortega, 42, was listed as an Orange County Unified School District board member. Before he was hired at MSJC, he served as a police captain at Montebello Unified School District. Prior to that he served in the Orange County Sheriff's Department.

Some Internet blogs suggest Ortega may have been considering a 2012 run for the 47th Congressional District, which covers cities including Long Beach, Los Alamitos, Garden Grove, Anaheim and Santa Ana. (It is unclear whether there was any truth to the blogs. Patch sent an email request for comment to Ortega, and will update if he responds.)

MSJC, which serves students from much of western Riverside County, lost its former police chief, Kevin Segawa, in 2009. Segawa was charged and later pleaded guilty to eight felonies and two misdemeanors, mostly for directing the majority of towing profits to one company in exchange for gifts. He resigned shortly after his arrest.

Currently serving as interim chief for MSJC is Terry Meadows, a retired Riverside County Sheriff's lieutenant, Marriott said. Meadows also served as interim when Segawa left.

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