Charlie Fivecoat was the top law enforcement officer in Shafter for five years, during which time he oversaw the building of a new police headquarters and Animal Control facility, the remodeling and reorganization of the local correctional facility and the implementation of new technology in the department.
Fivecoat has retired to take a position as senior security advisor for Occidental Petroleum. Monday was his last day as a city employee.
"It was really a heartbreaker leaving law enforcement after all these years, but there comes a time when you have to make that decision," Fivecoat said Wednesday.
Greg Richardson, who was most recently a sergeant, was sworn in as new police chief on Oct. 27.
Fivecoat's career in law enforcement began in 1974 when he joined the Taft Police Department. In 1978, he joined the Kern County Sheriff's Department and rose through the ranks to division commander.
He retired from the department in 2001 and spent the next five years as a full-time professor of political science at Bakersfield College. He was named Shafter's police chief in 2006.
"Shafter is a better place for Charlie having spent five years here," Shafter City Manager John D. Guinn said.
Richardson said Fivecoat was a great mentor who will be missed.
"I've got some big shoes to fill," Richardson said.
His first official day as chief was Monday. Richardson, 52, said the department will continue to be aggressive on crime while strengthening community bonds.
"We want to provide service to the community at every level," he said.
His goals include bolstering the department's volunteer program and citizen service unit, and also reaching out to more children through the Police Activities League. In addition, he wants to form a partnership with local businesses and industrial organizations that have come to the area.
Richardson said methamphetamine and domestic violence are the two most pressing criminal issues in Shafter.
Richardson began his career in law enforcement at the Bakersfield Police Department in 1981, and joined the Shafter Police Department as a sergeant in 1991. He has worked in patrol, traffic, narcotics, specialized tactical teams, bike patrol and investigations.
In 2009, he was assigned as the officer in charge of patrol operations. He's also a coach for the Golden Empire Football League and the Shafter Recreation Department.
Guinn said he believes Richardson is up to the task as chief. He said Richardson has a great command presence, and he thinks the community will be well served.
Copyright 2011 - The Bakersfield Californian
McClatchy-Tribune News Service