Temporary chief wants permanent post | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Temporary chief wants permanent post

While the city manager’s office is preparing advertisements to solicit applications for South Lake Tahoe’s next police chief, former Cmdr. Richard McGuffin has taken the interim position of top cop.

McGuffin, a police officer with 31 years experience, 22 at South Lake Tahoe, agreed to fill the position while City Manager David Jinkens will take more than three months to find a permanent hire.

McGuffin has expressed interest in the position. Jinkens said he is a candidate.

“This is a job that I have been preparing for for quite some time,” McGuffin said. “I think it would be an honor to be the chief of this police department.”

McGuffin was in charge of detectives and records during his most recent stint as commander but also headed the operation and administrative divisions.

Cmdr. Don Murren, in charge of administrative duties, has also expressed interest in the position if the criteria is right. Cmdr. Tom Conner, head of patrol, has said he will not pursue the job.

A San Francisco native, McGuffin started his career in law enforcement with the Campbell Police Department in 1971. A year and a half later he moved seven miles north to join the San Jose Police Department. In 1980, the San Francisco Giants and 49ers fan received a position at the South Lake Tahoe Police Department.

During a phone interview Tuesday, McGuffin seemed comfortable with his new temporary job. He spoke of retirements and teaching officers leadership positions. If chosen the next chief, he’d like to hire more Spanish speaking officers. Currently, there is one officer and a reserve officer who are bilingual.

McGuffin blamed the decrease of patrol officers on the city’s economic conditions. The department is also keeping positions open in hopes that voters will pass Measure Z on Nov. 5. The measure would provide more than $1 million for city services by raising taxes for motel guests and business licensing fees.

Jinkens said the city’s budget allows the next chief to earn $74,892 to $95,580 per year depending on experience.

Choosing the next police chief is one of the most important decisions of a city manager, Jinkens said. Jinkens, who became the city manager in August, added he has conducted police chief searches four times while being the city manager elsewhere.

Advertisements for the position will appear in the Tahoe Tribune as well as other California publications. It is important that the candidate have experience in California law, Jinkens said.

“This is an important decision that can help shape the city,” Jinkens said.

Brad Bennett, who retired Oct. 5, held a title of safety services director, meaning he was the chief of police and fire. Jinkens said the city has slowly been separating the two entities and the next police chief won’t assume the fire chief’s duties, which Chief Mike Chandler holds.

McGuffin has promoted former Detective Martin Hewlett to fill his position as acting commander in charge of detectives and records during the interim period.

— Contact William Ferchland at wferchland@tahoedailytribune.com

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