As many as 23 eligible to apply for police chief post

Local News

The Bakersfield Police Department is in a bit of a holding pattern following the surprise resignation of Police Chief Lyle Martin, who retired Dec. 28 to accept a position in the District Attorney’s office. The search for a new chief begins in earnest — finally — this month.

According to the terms of the city charter, the city’s police commission must furnish the city manager with a list of three eligible candidates from within the BPD’s current ranks within 40 days of the previous chief’s departure.

The complication is that City Manager Christian Clegg just got hired — his first day was Monday — so he is hardly in a position to make a prompt selection.

Assistant Chief Greg Terry is on the job as interim chief, but according to the charter a permanent chief must be appointed within 60 days — and 60 days have passed. So, clearly, these are unusual circumstances.

What we know is this: The new chief must be hired from within the current ranks of the BPD, must hold the rank of lieutenant or above, and must have been with the BPD for five years.

Twenty-three BPD officers, all men, meet those qualifications. Seventeen of them are lieutenants — and it’s not unheard of for a lieutenant to leap-frog captains and assistant chiefs to win the job. Lt. Bob Price — no relation to this reporter — did exactly that in 1973.

The job was posted the last week of February, the application window closes March 11, and testing takes place March 24. Not all 23 of those ranking BPD employees are qualified, however — they must have a POST management certificate, among other additional qualifications.

And one technically eligible potential candidate, Asst. Chief Evan Demestihas, is on paid administrative leave pending an investigation into alleged domestic abuse, so he would seem an unlikely candidate at this time.

Bottom line, we probably won’t have a new chief in place until at least April 1.

These individuals are eligible to apply for and be hired as Bakersfield Chief of Police, based on their current ranks:

Rank                    Individual         Years of Service

Assistant Chief   Greg Terry -1                    23

Assistant Chief   Evan Demestihas -2  14
Captain               Joe Mullins                       31

Captain               Jeremy Grimes                 21

Captain               Jason Matson                   17

Captain               Michael Hale                    23

Lieutenant          Jason Townsend              24

Lieutenant          Joseph Dougherty           24
Lieutenant          Eric Lantz                          17
Lieutenant          Bobby Woolard               22
Lieutenant          Martin Heredia               28

Lieutenant          Brent Stratton                 15
Lieutenant          Michael Coronado         24
Lieutenant          Clayton Madden             23
Lieutenant          Jeremy Blakemore         17
Lieutenant          Jeff Burdick                     20
Lieutenant          Kevin Fidler                     12

Lieutenant          Matthew Hilliard            27
Lieutenant          Joshua Finney                 15
Lieutenant          Christopher Knudson     18
Lieutenant          Brian Holcombe              15
Lieutenant          Damon Youngblood       24
Lieutenant          Ryan Kroeker                   13

1- Currently Interim Chief of Police
2- Currently on paid administrative leave

NOTE: Chief position also requires bachelor’s degree; completion of certified POST Command College and/or bachelor’s degree in public administration; POST management certificate; and 2 years experience at rank of lieutenant.

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