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.