Visalia Police Chief Bob Carden to Retire

July 29, 2009 10:03:41 PM PDT
Visalia's Police Chief surprised many by announcing he'll retire after more than 30 years of service.When the Visalia Police Department learned it would need to cut a million-and-a-half dollars from its budget many were scared patrol officers and others on the front lines would be the first to go. To avoid that, the city offered a cash incentive for retirement age officers at sergeant-level or above. But no one expected the Chief of Police Bob Carden, to take the offer.

Chief Carden, "As I was growing up and going to COS I wanted to work for the Visalia Police Dept and I would have never thought I would have been the police chief here, and this is the pinnacle of my career."

Before becoming Chief in Visalia, Bob Carden was Chief of Police in Marysville, Washington state. He plans to retire near there and hopefully teach at a local college.

Retiring along with the chief are Captain Glen Newsom, whose last day will be Thursday, and Sergeant Ernie Villa. Two more sergeants are also considering taking the incentive. City leaders say the retirees will help the city meet its budget-cutting goal.

City Manager Steve Salomon said, "We have the potential to save between I would say $300-500,000 a year if we can sustain that thru this tough time that we're in."

Salomon says Assistant Chief Colleen Mestas will likely take over as interim police chief and there's a possibility she'll get hired full-time. The department will also be going through a major restructuring.

"Some folks will have to do more than they're doing now but that's true throughout our Valley and throughout the state," said Chief Carden.

During his time as Police Chief, Carden has enforced a gang injunction, organized gang and auto theft task forces and much more. Carden's last day is August 28th.

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