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Former Huntington Park police chief wanted for lewd conduct may be overseas

December 17, 2010 |  7:35 am

Wadley A retired Huntington Park police chief wanted for leaving sexually explicit photos in Anaheim parks and exposing himself to a woman may be overseas teaching policing, according to law enforcement sources.

Anaheim police detectives have an arrest warrant for Paul Lawrence Wadley, 56, in connection with the alleged indecent acts in and around an Anaheim parks in recent months.

Former colleagues and friends say they were shocked to learn the law enforcement veteran is the man Anaheim detectives believe is responsible for dropping lewd pictures along Anaheim's running trails.

Orange County prosecutors have charged the 30-year-old law enforcement veteran with indecent exposure. Detectives tied Wadley to the crimes after his fingerprint was found on one of the photos of men's genitals, said Anaheim Police Sgt. Rick Martinez.

Anaheim detectives say they are continuing to work on arresting the former chief but are not sure where he is.

Two law enforcement sources said the former chief has been working on a contract basis overseas teaching policing, which is common among senior retired police officers looking to earn extra cash in retirement.

The news of the arrest warrant was surprising, said former Huntington Park Police Chief Randy Narramore.

"Like everyone I’ve talked to who worked at Huntington Park, I am very surprised," said Narramore, who led that department from 1995 to 2005. "It just doesn't fit the person that we knew."

He described Wadley as soft-spoken and hardworking, and said he has a wife and daughter.

When Narramore took over as chief in 1995, he made it a priority to emphasize education for his officers. Narramore said Wadley was one of the officers who returned to school and completed his bachelor’s degree during that period.

"He was never any problem. There were never any issues with him when I was there -- ever," Narramore said. "He was a guy that you could count on."

Wadley, who began as a parks and recreation employee in Huntington Park, rose up the ladder over three decades, serving as a sex-crime detective, gang detective and watch commander before eventually becoming chief. He retired in June.

“He was very well-regarded,” said another colleague who worked with him on a multi-agency gang task force.

The colleague, who asked not to be named, said Wadley's family was tight-knit, recalling how they rallied around him when he was wounded in an accident.

But Anaheim police said an eyewitness to the indecent-exposure incident gave a description matching Wadley. They said they also have other evidence gathered in a search of his home, which is a few blocks from Toyon Park, where most of the alleged incidents occurred.

Martinez said the investigation began Nov. 4 when a woman contacted Anaheim police to report she found a photograph of "male genitalia" on the ground near a running trail at Oak Canyon Road in east Anaheim.

The woman told investigators she had found similar lewd photographs of male and female genitalia on the trail on a previous occasions. She did not notify police then, she said, because she destroyed the pictures.

On Thanksgiving Day around 6 a.m., police said, a woman was on the hiking trail near Toyon Park when a man walked by and exposed himself to her by lowering his pants to his knees.

In the early morning hours of Nov. 29, three women exercising at Toyon Park in Anaheim Hills returned to their cars in the parking lot at about 6:15 a.m. and found lewd photographs of male genitalia on their car windshields, police said.

Martinez said that patrol officers in the days after those incidents found additional similar photographs near the trail.

Anaheim police say they want to hear from anyone with information on these cases or from people who have been victimized but not yet reported it to police.

-- Richard Winton and Sam Allen

Photo: Paul Lawrence Wadley. Credit: Anaheim Police Department