Paso's new police chief will make $160,000 a year

acornejo@thetribunenews.comJune 19, 2013 

Robert Burton


Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated the salary of Paso Robles' new police chief. Robert Burton will make $160,000 a year, not $166,000.

Paso Robles' new police Chief Robert Burton is no stranger to the city.

Burton, who will make $160,000 annually, is a 17-year veteran of the Police Department.

He has been serving as the interim police chief for more than a year since the resignation of Chief Lisa Solomon amid sexual harassment and ticket-quote allegations. Solomon made $144,000 annually.

“Robert is a calm, determined, pleasant and seasoned police officer and commander,” said City Manager Jim App. “He brings these qualities to the fore in returning stability to the department, while adding officers, expanding drug and gang enforcement, and increasing responsiveness to citizens who require assistance.”

He was appointed to the job Tuesday night by App. The Paso Robles City Council confirmed the hire in a late-night closed-session meeting.

Burton, 47, was second-in-command to Solomon. When she left, App asked him to fill the interim post.

Burton’s appointment follows two national searches for a new chief.

Burton didn’t apply for the job in the first search, saying he wanted to be a police chief one day but first planned to put his energy toward healing the department in the months going forward.

“It is time for us to move forward and get on with what we need to be doing, which is concentrating our efforts and doing our job in the community instead of being distracted by older turmoil,” Burton said Wednesday.

During his oversight in Paso Robles, Burton received heat from the department early on when the city hired a police supervisor instead of more patrol officers. Since that time, however, he also led the department in hiring several new officers and established the department’s own gang and drug enforcement team.

“We have no concerns,” said Tony Ruiz, president of the Paso Robles Police Officers Association. “We are just glad the process is over and we are finally able to have a permanent Chief of Police. Now we can move forward.”

Burton is a 43-year San Luis Obispo County resident who has worked as a patrol officer, traffic officer and a sergeant supervising the patrol and detectives units, according to App. He was later promoted to lieutenant and then captain in 2007.

Aside from Paso Robles police, Burton has also been a correctional officer at the San Luis Obispo County Jail and worked for the San Luis Obispo Police Department.

Reach AnnMarie Cornejo at 781-7939. Stay updated by following @a_cornejo on Twitter.

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