New chief scores well with cops

Bruce Hagerty

Bruce Hagerty

Barring an unexpected turn of events, the Chico City Council later this month will confirm Bruce Hagerty as the city’s new chief of police. Last week City Manager Tom Lando, Assistant City Manager Trish Dunlap, Mayor Maureen Kirk and Police Officer Terry Moore flew to the desert town of Ridgecrest for a final interview.

The next day word was out that Hagerty was the man, and the day after that the story hit the press. Hagerty has been the chief in Ridgecrest for the past three years, following a 28-year career with the Los Angeles Police Department.

Lando said salary negotiations remain, but at this point he is “95 percent” certain the hire will be made.

Hagerty, 54, was born in Butte, Mont., and moved with his family as a child to Long Beach, where his father worked for Douglas Aircraft. The family later moved to Buena Park, where he attended junior-high and high school. He attended Fullerton Junior College and then joined the National Guard before enrolling at the University of Redlands, where he got his bachelor’s and master’s degrees.

During his stint with the LAPD, he said, he served for a while as the public-relations officer. He was post commander of the 177th Precinct in Los Angeles during the so-called Rodney King riots. That precinct was at the center of the riots.

Hagerty said he and his wife each have three children from previous marriages, including her son, Dr. Scott Hood, a Chico orthodontist. Ridgecrest is a Navy town of about 25,000 people located right next to the China Lake Naval Weapons Center.

Moore, who is the president of the Chico Police Officers Association, said he was very impressed with Hagerty and even compared him favorably with former Chief Mike Dunbaugh, the popular top cop who left for Santa Rosa seven years ago.

Moore said the POA was involved in all phases of the interview process and met with all three of the finalists for the position.

“I was very impressed with this man’s credentials and how he has his tentacles so deeply rooted into that community,” Moore said.

Hagerty reportedly started the Kern County town’s Boys and Girls Club, beefed up the Rotary Club and created a Chief’s Advisory Council and a Youth Advisory Council.

Moore said he was able to talk with a cross-section of the community and that Hagerty had “universal support.”

“The city [of Chico] was very progressive in that it allowed the POA a one-hour interview [with Hagerty] without a [city representative present] in the second round,” Moore said. “That shows a lot of trust, and we really appreciate that.

“Of course that means we also share the responsibility if things don’t work out," he said. "This is like a marriage, and nobody goes into a marriage thinking it’s not going to work out."