Paso Robles police chief search down to two finalists

The two finalists in the search for Paso Robles’ next police chief are from San Diego and Fresno, according to City Manager Jim App. 

Sixty-one people applied for the job, including several candidates from San Luis Obispo County. The two finalists were interviewed Friday by City Council members, city department executives and Police Department managers.

“We may take some time to reflect before action is taken,” App said. 

No decision was reached Friday.

The department’s new chief will be tasked with bringing stability to the police force after heated allegations against the former chief led to her resignation. The department has also faced years of budget cuts and a reduction in the number of officers.

The position’s salary is up to $160,020 per year, about $10,000 more than previously reported, as a result of contractual salary changes the city made in July. 

Once chosen, the candidate will undergo a final in-depth background investigation and testing, which is slated to take six weeks. Officials hope the new chief is on board in February.

The top two candidates, whose names and genders were not disclosed, were narrowed from a pool of six candidates vetted Nov. 16 by three interview panels appointed by the City Council.

The Paso Robles Police Department began searching for a new chief following the departure of Lisa Solomon, who resigned in April after a former officer accused her of sexual harassment and another claimed officers were required to meet illegal ticket quotas. Both issues are now in lawsuits filed against the city.

The new chief will oversee the department’s roughly $8.3 million annual budget for about 51 employees, including officers, dispatchers and other staff for a city of nearly 30,000 people.

The search is headed by William Avery & Associates Inc., a recruiting firm based in Los Gatos.