CLEARLAKE – Clearlake could have a new police chief by the end of this week if the Clearlake City Council approves the top candidate from a nationwide search.
The Clearlake City Council has a closed session scheduled for 1 p.m. Friday at City Hall, at which time they'll decide on the prospective new chief, according to interim Police Chief Larry Todd.
The candidate for the job goes to the council with both Todd's and City Administrator Dale Neiman's recommendation, Todd said.
The city will make an official statement naming the individual later this week if he's hired, Todd added.
Bob Chalk, the city's longtime chief, retired in December.
In January Todd, a retired chief with 38 years of law enforcement experience, joined Clearlake Police to temporarily fill the chief's position and help the city find a permanent replacement for Chalk.
The council hired the recruitment firm Avery & Associates to conduct the chief search, which brought in 28 applications from across the nation, Todd said. Some of those applicants were people Todd personally approached about the job.
The 28 original candidates were then reduced to six, two of which withdrew, said Todd. Those final four were then narrowed to the man the council will consider on Friday.
On May 10, the City Council passed a resolution requesting the CalPERS Board of Administration grant a time extension to Todd's temporary employment. That's a necessary step when retired public employees like Todd reach a maximum of 960 employment hours in a fiscal year.
That resolution stated that Todd would reach his 960-hour limit on June 14. But with a strong chief's candidate in the wings, Todd may not be staying on much longer.
“If all goes well, the new chief will start June 18 and my last day will be June 29,” said Todd. “There will be a two-week overlap.”
Although Todd cautioned that the council was the final authority on the chief''s hire, he said, “I'm feeling very confident” that the council will accept the top chief recruit.
Once the new chief is officially hired, Todd said he'll introduce him to the other local law enforcement leaders and help him get settled into his new position.
Whoever succeeds Todd will find a department that has undergone some substantial changes and improvements.
When Todd arrived, the command staff had left, and there were several officer and dispatch vacancies in addition to the permanent chief's job.
Since then, Todd has installed two new lieutenants, Craig Clausen and Mike Hermann, who he promoted from sergeant spots within the department.
In turn, Todd has opened up a statewide recruitment to find new sergeants. That effort has yielded the department's newest hire, Sgt. Rodd Joseph, who comes to Clearlake Police with more than 12 years of experience at Susanville Police Department, Todd said.
He also has hired three officers, a dispatcher, a records and communications supervisor and a support service technician. Todd estimated that the department still has about six positions – two dispatchers, two sergeants and two officers – that have yet to be filled.
Todd has created a volunteer force – Volunteers in Police Service – to work with police, which will replace the Community Patrol. In addition, he implemented a new vehicle replacement policy to get better, safer cars for the department and phase out about 20 older cars that are no longer safe.
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