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Friday, Oct 25 2013 10:14 AM

Chief Kermode reveals plans to retire

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Tehachapi Police Chief Jeff Kermode looks out over the crowd from horseback Tuesday, Aug. 6, at the National Night Out crime prevention event in Central Park. Gregory D. Cook / Tehachapi News

City will hire consultant to find new chief

Without pomp and circumstance, City Manager Greg Garrett mentioned in his report to the City Council at the Nov. 21 meeting that Chief of Police Jeff Kermode plans to retire on June 30, 2014.

"The chief has indicated his desire to retire," Garrett said. "I tried very, very hard to talk him out of it. But he's going to go do some other things with his life, so I applaud him for that."

The manager brought the matter before the council in order to secure approval to hire a consultant to find a replacement for the chief of police.

"So we need to start a journey to find another police chief," Garrett said. "Big boots to fill, that's for sure...We came to the realization very quickly that we need to hire a consultant to help us."

City officials sought proposals from three consultants, but settled on Bob Murray and Associates as the best choice.

"We found that Bob Murray was the leader in this particular position," Garrett said. "They specialize in [recruiting] head of departments, they specialize in police chiefs."

The contract is for $26,400, with a guarantee that if the chosen applicant does not work out after one year, the company will go through the process with the city again.

"It's going to be money well spent, because we want the right person," Garrett said. "We certainly need to find the right person."

Having been on the committee that selected Kermode as chief, Councilman Ed Grimes agreed with the city manager.

"That's one of the most important positions that you can appoint anybody to," Grimes said. "And you don't have room for error. It has to be correct...But my hat's off to the chief, because he set the tone for community policing here, and it has really paid dividends."

Garrett said a committee will be created to conduct interviews and review applications, presumably with one or two council members aboard.

Kermode did not comment on the topic, but Mayor Phil Smith was sure to recognize him.

"Well I can't say enough, Chief, for all that you've done for our city," Smith said. "Going from police force, to a contract, and then coming in with you to build a police department from the ground up that's second to none. It's truly appreciated and I'm sure everyone here appreciates that."

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