San Luis Obispo names new police chief

Acting chief in Atascadero succeeds Deborah Linden at starting salary of $157,508

January 2, 2012 

Correction: An earlier version of this story misstated when Stephen Gesell will start work as San Luis Obispo police chief. Gesell begins his new job on Jan. 17, not Jan. 7.

San Luis Obispo has a new police chief.

On Monday, the city named Stephen Gesell to replace nine-year chief Deborah Linden, who retired in December.

A 22-year police officer, Gesell has been acting chief in Atascadero for most of 2011, and he worked for 20 years at the Scottsdale Police Department, where he achieved the post of division commander.

He is expected to take his new post Jan. 17.

For overseeing a staff of more than 80 and a budget of $15.3 million, his starting salary will be $157,508.

“I am confident that Steve has the experience and skills to successfully lead the department into the future,” said City Manager Katie Lichtig in a news release.

Gesell, who is from San Luis Obispo, said in a news release that he is excited to serve as police chief of his hometown. “My family and I look forward to becoming part of the community and getting to know the many people that make this city the phenomenal place that it is.”

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