A new police chief was sworn in to lead the Bear Valley Police Department after a more than two-year search for a permanent chief.
Tim Melanson was appointed on March 28, but introduced to the community Thursday at the Bear Valley Community Services District board meeting. He comes from the Kern County Sheriff's Office in Bakersfield after working in law enforcement for 21 years.
"I couldn't be more excited to be serving your great community of Bear Valley," Melanson said. He added that he noticed while assisting on calls in the past, the community took great pride in supporting the police force and he appreciated that.
Melanson's wife, Angie, who participated in his badge pinning ceremony, said, "He continues to impress me because of all of his accomplishments and I am so proud of him."
Board members and general manager David Edmonds said the search for a new police chief was lengthy due to the right candidate not coming along or not passing certain guidelines.
While the board worked to find a new chief, interim chief Jeff Kermode ran operations. Former Police Chief Rodney Walthers resigned in 2015.
Of Melanson, Edmonds said, "He was the unanimous choice for our chief and we are very excited."
Steve Roberts, a member of the board of directors, said, "When we interviewed you, the light just came on to me and said 'this is our guy.'"
Roberts added that Melanson answered every question in a straightforward manner, with honesty and sincerity.
Board President Gil Grace added, "It means a lot having a chief of police who really loves our community and wants to do what he can to make our police department as functional as it can be."
The police force is in the process of recruiting two new police officers and has added four new vehicles. There are currently three sworn officer positions that are filled to date.
Melanson holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice from Union Institute and University, and a Master’s Degree in Public Policy and Administration from Cal State Bakersfield, said bvcsd.com.