Futurist, behavioral expert and police chief


Staff writer

Anaheim Police chief Roger Baker is preparing for a move to Des Moines, where he’ll put his behavioral management training to good use in dealing with an officer charged with unlawful imprisonment of a drug informant —a felony.

“My wife and I had sought to move up to the Pacific Northwest when I finished my law enforcement career in California,” Baker said. “We honeymooned not far from Des Moines.”

“I’m ready for a new chapter in my book. And that is to move on to another law enforcement agency and to learn and grow in that agency.”

Baker first learned of the open police chief position –– created by the retirement in June of Don Obermiller –– on the California Police Chiefs Association Web site. The more he read, the more intrigued he grew.

He eventually was hired over 52 other applicants and is scheduled to begin his new job after the first of the year.

After 30 years, it’s “time for me to retire from California law enforcement,” Baker said. “I’ve done almost everything that I’ve ever wanted to do in California law enforcement.”

This includes participating with numerous boards and affiliations –– the Society of Police Futurists, the World Future Society and the International Association of Chiefs of Police. He is also a member of boards for the Orange County Joint Terrorism Task Force and the Orange County Chiefs of Police and Sheriff’s Association.

Baker has also served on advisory boards of the Boys and Girls Club, the Anaheim Family YMCA and Western Youth Services.

Baker has taught behavioral management and leadership to police officers during his tenure at Anaheim. He holds two degrees in clinical psychology from Chapman University and has a graduate certificate in organizational management and leadership.

In addition, Baker holds three lifetime teaching credentials in California, and he said he hopes to continue with his teaching and counseling in Washington.

But for now, he’ll stick with getting to know the waterfront city of Des Moines.

“My first mission will be to learn all about the community and all about the city structure in the police department,” Baker said. “Then we’ll look at where we want the department and city to be.”

Baker said he and wife are “leaving the premier resort community in the United State to move to what I consider to be a small community with a marvelous future. The volume of activity (he’ll oversee as chief) will be greatly different between the two cities (Anaheim has more than 400 officers and 300,000-plus residents, Des Moines 43 and 30,000, respectively), but the responsibilities will be the same.”

As for the recent incident in which a Des Moines police officer and two King County Sheriff deputies were accused of beating, threatening to kill and unlawfully imprisoning a drug informant, Baker said he doesn’t have enough facts to comment.

But he did say, “My expectation of police officers is that they will stay within the confines and the limits of federal, state, county, and local laws.

“I don’t think it’s appropriate for officers to exceed their legal authority on anything.” If they do, he said, “there should be some imposition, some discipline.”

In his spare time, Baker said he and his wife, Shirley, an attorney specializing in probate law, enjoy hiking and bike riding. Baker also likes the guitar, which he plays “not much and not well,” and reading books –– “new age-thinking books, books on new concepts, new developments and new technologies.” His latest read is Joseph Rost’s “Leadership for the Twenty-First Century.”

Baker’s two children by his first marriage, Sean and Alison, are college students in Orange County.

Staff writer Elizabeth Ciepiela: 925-5565,

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