This article appears in the May 16th, 2018 issue of the California Democrat. The article written and photo taken by staff journalist David Wilson.
Capt. Dale Embry, of the California Police Department, has been appointed as interim police chief. This appointment followed the resignation of Chief Mike Ward.
Embry was appointed by Mayor Norris Gerhart May 3, following the effective time of the resignation, and approved by the City Council at its regular monthly board meeting May 7.
He will serve until a new police chief is selected. The council plans to advertise the position for 30 days, to determine what candidates will be interviewed. According to Gerhart, Ward submitted his resignation May 2, to be effective May 3, with no reason given.
Embry commented the resignation happened quickly, meaning there is a very limited transition period. He has always been a road officer, and the interim chief appointment means he will now run the department in everyday operations.
"That includes making sure the schedules are filled and routine calls are taken care of," he said.
"The job is essentially the same, except for administrative work, such as the budget," he said. Even so, "There is a lot going on."
Embry said he appreciates the strong support of the city council in this period of transition within the department. He said it is made easier by a good law enforcement and support staff.
In addition to Embry, there are five officers — Jeff Lewis, Tyler Hicks, Keith Strutton, Rafael Ayala and Daniel Hurt. Kathy Roll is the police clerk. There are six police vehicles.
The department has no reserve officers.
According to Embry, that is at least in part because of the changes in the Police Officers Standard of Training regulatory program of the Missouri Department of Public Safety. It now requires 24 hours of training a year to remain qualified. Someone with a full-time job often is not able to devote the time to achieve the necessary training to remain qualified.