Escondido taps department veteran as new top cop

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Escondido Police Chief Craig Carter

Escondido Police Chief Craig Carter

ESCONDIDO, Calif. — Craig Carter, a 21-year veteran of the Escondido Police Department, has been selected to head the agency, city officials announced Friday.

He replaces former Chief Jim Maher, who retired in December.

Carter “will be an excellent police chief and will provide stability to the city’s and the police department’s working relationships with businesses, schools and community groups,” City Manager Clay Phillips said.

Carter, who holds a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Bellevue University, joined the department as a trainee officer in 1992.

He was promoted to sergeant in 1998, to lieutenant in 2005 and to captain five months ago, city spokeswoman Joyce Masterson said.

Mike Garcia, head of the Escondido Police Officers Association, said the organization’s membership was “very excited” about the prospect of working with the new chief and his support staff.

“As president of the association, I firmly believe the community and the department will prosper under the professional leadership of Chief Carter and his team,” he said.

A badge-pinning ceremony for Carter, whose annual salary as chief will be $160,550, will take place during an Aug. 28 City Council meeting, Masterson said.

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