ESCONDIDO POLICE CHIEF APOLOGIZES FOR GAG GIFT: ESCONDIDO (AP) — A Southern California police chief has apologized for a holiday party gag prize that included mug shots of intoxicated people.
Photos of alcoholics arrested under a habitual offenders program were in a basket that also contained beer and wine.
It was a door prize at a party hosted last weekend by an Escondido police labor union.
Escondido Police Chief Craig Carter sent the paper a statement on Thursday apologizing and saying he should have recognized the insensitive and inappropriate nature of the prize.
The president of the Escondido Police Officers Association, Mike Garcia, apologized on Friday.
DESERT HOT SPRINGS TO CUT CITY EMPLOYEES' SALARIES: DESERT HOT SPRINGS (AP) — The financially troubled city of Desert Hot Springs has decided to cut police and city employee salaries amid bankruptcy concerns.
The City Council approved the cost-saving measure by unanimous vote Thursday. Starting Dec. 28, city salaries will be cut by more than 20 percent and there will be a reduction in paid holidays. The cuts amount to $2 million in annual savings.
Police union attorney Wendell Phillips claims the council's decision violates state employee laws. He said the union would file a complaint with the state's Public Employee Relations Board.
Desert Hot Springs is expected to collect revenues of nearly $14 million this fiscal year but spend $18 million, leaving a budget gap of more than $4 million to fill.
MAN, 91, DIES AFTER BUS CRASH: CORONA (AP) — A 91-year-old man has died after a Southern California bus crash — the second death from a series of crashes that injured dozens.
Khang Tieu of Midway City died Thursday night, eight hours after a bus returning from a San Diego County casino overturned on Interstate 15 in Corona.
Some two dozen people were hurt. The Highway Patrol says the bus was doing 65 mph — an unsafe speed for the rain-slick roadway.
Also Thursday, a bus heading to another casino overturned on Interstate 15 near Fallbrook. Sixty-four-year-old Tayde Murguia of Los Angeles was killed and 19 others were hurt.
And at least 14 people were hurt Thursday morning in an accident involving a Riverside County transit bus near Perris.
MOM AGREES TO SETTLE SUIT OVER CHILD AUTOPSY PHOTO: SAN DIEGO (AP) — A woman who sued San Diego County over the release of an autopsy photo of her 2-year-old son has settled the privacy case for $125,000.
A lawyer for Brenda Marsh said she settled the case before state trial last month. The attorney, Donny Cox, says the county didn't acknowledge any liability.
Marsh's son, Phillip Buell, died in 1983. Her boyfriend, Kenneth Marsh, claimed the boy accidentally hit his head but he was convicted of beating the child to death. Marsh spent 21 years in prison before charges were dropped.
When he sought compensation for the imprisonment, the original prosecutor sent local media materials that included the child's autopsy photo — prompting the lawsuit.