Reporter Denise Rizzo broke the story this week of Tracy's new police chief, who just resigned his post from Turlock to return to the burg where he made captain. Three cheers for the new chief, Gary Hampton.
One thing the story didn't explore, however, is the exceedingly quick turnaround from Chief Janet Thiessen's resignation to hiring her replacement. Folks familiar with the process have told me it isn't uncommon for police chief (or for that matter, department head) searches to last six months. This one was conducted and closed in less than 30 days.
Also, it's just been made news today that Thiessen, whose resignation was supposed to be effective this Friday, July 8, will stick around until Aug. 14, the day before Hampton is supposed to officially take over. Evidently, the city wanted to avoid naming an "interim" chief.
After Thiessen, Capt. John Espinoza was the highest ranking officer in the TPD and seemed a logical choice to serve at least as interim chief, as he has on occassion when Thiessen was out of town. But Espinoza has also filed a lawsuit against Thiessen and the city, and while some agree with the suit that Espinoza has been a victim of bad practices within the department and city government, others have commented that he is somewhat of a polarizing figure.
(As far as the lawsuit's merit and outcome, we'll have to see how the courts sort that out. Expect updates from the Tracy Press as they become available.)
It's speculation, but those extenuating circumstances might have been a factor in getting a new permanent chief in as quickly as possible and eschewing the "interim" designation. For the record, when Chief David Krauss left, Capt. Rick Gophin was named interim chief until Thiessen was selected for the job.
• This entry was updated from its original form.