Ex-Atascadero police chief hired as King City's interim chief

ppemberton@thetribunenews.comFebruary 28, 2014 

Dennis Hegwood

The King City police, recently scandalized by the arrests of six police officers, has hired Atascadero’s former police chief — no stranger to controversy himself — as its interim chief.

The Monterey Herald has reported that Dennis Hegwood, 62, has been hired as interim police chief. Hegwood most recently worked as a criminal justice instructor at Cuesta College.

King City made national news recently when an investigation into widespread corruption in the department resulted in arrests of six of its 17 officers. Among those charged was the chief of police, Bruce Miller. During an internal affairs investigation there, the Herald reported, Hegwood was hired to help look into the department.

After six years as police chief in Atascadero, Hegwood resigned in 2004, saying in a statement, “This has been a trying time for me personally.”

Hegwood had been accused of rape, but the District Attorney’s Office, which conducted an investigation into the charge, cleared him of any wrongdoing. According to the prosecution at the time, there were no physical signs of rape, and the woman’s story had changed over time.

Still, the accusations haunted Hegwood, who said he had engaged in a consensual relationship with the woman — a business acquaintance’s wife. There were also charges of racial prejudice since Hegwood is black and the woman was white.

Ron Hanley, the city attorney in King City, told the Herald that Hegwood — a Vietnam veteran — was “the exact best person” for the job.

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