A spokesperson for the Walnut Creek Police Department has confirmed department leaders have selected a new temporary Chief of Police. Captain Steve Skinner will move into that role later this month. Skinner was appointed by the City Manager last week. The current Walnut Creek Police Department Chief, Joel Bryden, is scheduled to retire in mid-May. Bryden has worked with the department for about five years. His colleagues say he will be missed. Sources say he is anticipated to retire with a salary upward of $200,000.
The search for an qualified replacement has spanned far and wide. Department officials say their candidate pool has narrowed although they have not indicate which man or woman has emerged as the frontrunner. Whoever that person is, they will have big challenges ahead of them. The Walnut Creek Police Department budget has been slashed in recent years. Many of those cuts have been implemented since 2008. Opponents say this has hindered public safety. They feel that reducing budgets for law enforcement is a short sighted solution to managing the city’s budget deficit. They further question why monies continue to be given to the arts and other cultural programs as opposed to being allocated toward reducing and preventing crime.
The city has not announced a timeline in terms of hiring their new chief. Bryden has reportedly said new officers are scheduled to begin working with the Walnut Creek PD before the end of 2013.