Kroeger to retire; city seeking new police chief
BY CLAUDIA ELLIOTT
Alberta Newspaper Group
Police Chief Kent Kroeger plans to retire April 1 and the city of Tehachapi has engaged a recruiting firm to find a replacement. “We have once again hired the services of Bob Murray and Associates to handle the recruitment,” Assistant City Manager Corey Costelloe said Jan. 10. He said the city worked with the same firm to recruit Kroeger when Jeff Kermode left the position. “Based on that successful hire and his amazing work with the Tehachapi Police Department it was an easy decision on who to work with to find his replacement,” Costelloe said. According to the job posting on the recruiter’s website, the deadline for applications is Jan. 28. The annual salary range for the police chief is $104,004 to $163,020, plus benefits, with placement in that range dependent upon qualifications. “Chief Kroeger’s retirement is a huge loss for our community,” City Manager Greg Garrett said in a statement released Jan. 10. “He took the Tehachapi Police Department to the next level while creating a top-notch law enforcement agency and we believe his success will help attract a great candidate that will continue the work on the initiatives that are keeping the city safe,” Garrett noted. “His focus on community policing has built great relationships with our residents and fellow law enforcement agencies here in Kern County which has greatly benefited the city of Tehachapi.” Kroeger did not immediately respond to a Jan. 10 request for information about his plans. ACCOMPLISHMENTS The city hired Kroeger in June 2014 to replace Kermode, who had been with the city since November 2006 and was in charge of a revival of the police department in 2007. The city had previously operated its own police department but had disbanded it and contracted with the Kern County Sheriff’s Office for a number of years. Kroeger also supervised the 2016 move of dispatch services from Bear Valley Police Department to TPD. That same year, the Tehachapi Police Foundation was created. The organization was founded to raise public awareness and community support for the TPD and has raised thousands of dollars to purchase equipment and supplies to assist the department. Most recently, Kroeger worked for more than a year to develop three ordinances dealing with code enforcement expected to go before the Tehachapi City Council on Jan. 18. A longtime resident of Tehachapi, Kroeger previously served 26 years with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and was a lieutenant at that department’s Lancaster station when he took the police chief job. THE JOB A recruitment brochure produced by Bob Murray & Associates provides information about TPD, noting that its budget this fiscal year is $4.2 million with an authorized staff of 18 sworn officers and 10 civilian employees as well as a code enforcement division with two staff. According to the brochure, the community of Tehachapi is active and involved with the police department and desires a strong presence throughout the city. “Rates of violent crime in the city are low and overall crime rates have dropped in recent years,” it states. “However, Tehachapi is starting to see new crime issues as it relates to a change in state laws and less incarceration of repeat offenders.” New retail offerings and an expanded customer base have resulted in challenging new retail crimes and organized thefts, according to the brochure, and the new chief will be expected to formulate a plan and lead the department in addressing these issues. “Code enforcement is a high priority in the city,” it states, adding that many city ordinances have been established and a cost recovery process is in place. According to the recruitment brochure, the department’s call volume is generally extremely low, averaging about 20 calls for service per day. The ideal candidate for the position will be someone who will fully embrace the small-town spirit of the city and be visible, active and engaged in community life. View the recruitment information online here: https://bit.ly/33neXX6.