City of Porterville has a new police chief

PORTERVILLE, Calif. (KFSN) -- Eric Kroutil is settling into his new role. He's been a captain with Porterville police for eight years, and now he's the new chief.

"I'm so proud to be here. I'm so proud for this department, and I'm really looking forward to leading the next chapter of it," said Chief Kroutil.

The most important part of that next chapter for him is his community.

"I grew up in this community. I have a vested interest in this community," said Kroutil.

Kroutil says too often people's experiences with police officers are during some of the worst times of their lives.

"The police interaction for most people is when they're getting a ticket, or when they're a victim of a crime, or the suspects in a crime," he said.

Kroutil wants to change that and invite the public in, even when there's nothing to report. He's hopeful people feel comfortable talking with his officers about anything.

"Our officers are just family members, community members just like anybody else, and when they're not doing police work, they're part of the community," the chief said.

Kroutil himself wants to have an open-door policy. He says people are more than welcome to set up times to meet with him personally.

"I want to make sure that everybody knows that I am going to listen. I'm not just gonna hear, but I'm gonna listen," said Kroutil.

The chief is also looking at bringing body cameras to the department.

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