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Mystery surrounds GCC leave

Despite the absence of its chief officer, the campus police remain in operation, official says.

December 15, 2010|By Jason Wells, jason.wells@latimes.com

The police chief of Glendale Community College was placed on leave on Tuesday, leaving the 13-member department in the hands of an officer while campus executives determine their next move.

College officials refused to discuss what prompted Chief Steven P. Wagg's leave, saying it was a confidential personnel matter. They also declined to confirm if his captain, Nidal Kobaissi, had been placed on leave as well, although an officer in the department, Erin Kurasz, was named as interim supervisor.

A dispatcher on Wednesday who answered the phone at the college police department said Kobaissi was unavailable and had taken "a few days off."

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Messages left at a residential phone number listed under his name were not returned Wednesday.

Wendy Grove, a spokeswoman for the college, said Wagg's leave was effective until Dec. 31. Efforts to track down Wagg were unsuccessful.

A representative for the state Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training, which sets the standards for graduating peace officers, said the agency does not track certifications and said they do not release training records.

College Supt.-President Dawn Lindsay, who was out of town Wednesday but reached by phone, said she understood there would be strong community interest, but said her hands were tied by workplace confidentiality laws.

Glendale Community College Board of Trustees President Tony Tartaglia said he couldn't comment on the situation, but assured stakeholders that the campus police department was "fully functional, there's been no operational changes, the students are safe...and that's our No. 1 priority."

The current semester ends Dec. 22, when the campus breaks ahead of a six-week intersession that starts Jan. 3.

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