What the process will look like

ATASCADERO — Atascadero Police Chief Jerel Haley announced his retirement in early July. As of Aug. 12, the City officially posted the position online and began the process of finding a new chief.

The Atascadero News inquired about the selection process, and this article will detail everything that will go into the search and how the public can get involved. 

The City of Atascadero announced Haley’s last day would officially be Oct. 16 and that they hope to have the position filled before Haley concludes his ninth year in charge. He will also be included in the interview process for the new chief.

According to municipal code in the power of appointment and removal, it is the duty of the city manager to appoint, remove, promote and demote any and all officers and employees of the City except elective officers and the City Attorney. However, appointment, removal, promotion, and demotion of department heads, officers, and employees shall be recommended to the City Council for concurrence and confirmation. 


This means City Manager Rachelle Rickard ultimately hires the position but will also bring the suggestion to the City Council for confirmation. 

The City of Atascadero will conduct a national search but will not be using an outside firm to hire the position stating, “While using a recruiting firm can be a very effective tool for some recruitments, the City has had similar success using other recruitment tools such as targeted job postings.”

Following a review of all the applications and materials received from interested parties, the City will select the top qualified candidates, generally seven to nine, that will move on to the next phase of the recruitment process. 

On Sept. 18, the selected applicants will be interviewed by a series of panels that will include a technical panel, executive panel, and community panel that will take three to four hours. 

Following the interview, the different panels will rate the applicants based on their performance in the interview process, and the top two to three candidates will advance to the next phase. 

The top candidates will then be asked to participate in the second round of interviews, including time spent with Police Chief Haley, the Atascadero Police Department, and the Executive Management Team. 

Next, the City will thoroughly vet the top candidates through a background process that will include a professional background check. If necessary, a team from the City will visit current and past employers. If the right candidate is found, City Manager Rickard makes the selection and brings an item to the City Council to concur with the hiring. 

While the City will do the hiring, the public can still have a say in the process. Each member of the public can always speak at any City Council meeting under the community forum about any item, not on the agenda, which could include qualities they would like to see in their next police chief. 

Members of the public can also email the City Manager at rrickard@atascadero.org with any thoughts, comments, or suggestions surrounding the search. 

Lastly, the public can speak on the item when it comes to the City Council for concurrence. 

The position of Atascadero police chief has been posted on several California, national, and international law enforcement sites, including the California Police Chief’s Association, National Minority Update, the International Police Chiefs Association, and the City’s website.