• City Names Steven Belcher as Interim Chief

    Former Santa Cruz Police Chief and Interim Chief of Marina, Soledad,  East Palo Alto, Bell, and Asheville, NC

    By Marge Ann Jameson

    On Wednesday, Dec. 16, the City Council is approved the finalization of an agreement with Steven Belcher, former police chief of the City of Santa Cruz, as Interim Police Chief of Pacific Grove.

    The position became available when Police Chief Vickie Myers notified Pacific Grove and Seaside, which had been sharing the position of police chief, that she would not longer be able to fill the post for both cities and would remain with Seaside. The agreement between the two cities ended Dec. 5, 2015. Myers was honored at the Dec. 16 City Council meeting.

    Commander Rory Lakind is serving as Acting Chief. But as there is no one else in a management position with the police department, “that cannot be sustained” according to city manager Tom Frutchey. Thus the need for an interim chief.

    Frutchey thanked Lakind for stepping in, and pointed out that he had even remained on duty during a 24-hour period when illness in the upper echelon of the police force necessitated extra duty.

    The search is on for a new police chief through a recruitment firm, Ralph Andersen & Associates. The timing of the hiring of the new police chief will be such that the new police chief will be selected and pass background investigation under the new city manager, as current city manager Tom Frutchey is leaving to take the position of city manager of the city of Paso Robles in January, 2016.

    Other candidates were interviewed, but Mr. Belcher was the city manager’s selection as interim chief and the City Council concurred.

    As a retiree under CalPERS, Belcher can only work 960 hours.

    Steven Belcher was the Police chief of Santa Cruz from 1994-2003 when he retired after 32 years in law enforcement. He and two other retired peace officers formed a private law enforcement consulting firm called Belcher, Ehle, Medina & Assoc., Inc. to advise municipalities and others on various aspects of police organization. He will be asked to perform a comprehensive review of Pacific Grove’s police department – its strengths and its challenges.

    Belcher holds a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Cal State University, Fresno. He has a master’s from Golden Gate University in San Francisco, and has attended the FBI National Academy.

    He served as interim chief in Soledad and Marina.

    He is no stranger to police departments with problems. After the police officers of Asheville, NC voted “no confidence” in their chief, Belcher was hired as interim police chief there. He also served as interim chief twice in East Palo Alto, CA and was brought in as interim chief to Bell, CA after that department’s chief was fired amid a massive corruption case that made headlines nationwide.

    The contract between Belcher and the City of Pacific Grove is under negotiation.

    The way the City of Pacific Grove is organized, the Chief of Police answers directly to the City Manager. Belcher would, when approved, be paid compensation prescribed by California Peace Officers Standards and Training (POST).

    The City Council meeting of Dec. 16 dragged on until after 11:00 pm., and Belcher took a brief break during the discussion on short term vacation rentals to attend a POA function and introduce himself to his future officers.

    When approved, Belcher should be available to start with the City during the week of December 16-23.

     

     

     

     

     

    posted to Cedar Street Times on December 13, 2015

    Topics: Front PG News, Police Log

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