The search for city’s next police chief continues after Robert Masterson’s departure last September

ATASCADERO — The search for Atascadero’s next police chief continues. Back on Sept. 14, 2022, it was announced via press release that Atascadero’s then Police Chief Robert Masterson had been released from his contract on a not-for-cause basis. Masterson had held the position since January 2021. 

The stated reason for Masterson’s release from his contract was “incompatible management styles,” he and City Manager Rachelle Rickard, who will be retiring this summer, said.

The following week, on Friday, Sept. 23, 2022, it was announced by the city that Jerad Haley would return as interim police chief while they continued their search for an individual that would be a good fit with Atascadero’s police department. The city’s journey to find a permanent police chief has continued for the eight months since.


Haley was originally Atascadero’s police chief starting in October 2011 and worked for Atascadero PD in that role through his original retirement on Oct. 16, 2020. He returned as interim police chief in early October 2022 and left the position in the middle of March 2023.

As of Thursday, May 25, the city has not found an official replacement for the chief of police position. However, after Haley left as interim police chief, Police Commander Robert Molle’ has been acting as chief for the APD.

“Commander Robert Molle’ has been with the City of Atascadero Police Department for 27 years,” said Atascadero’s Deputy City Manager of Outreach, Promotions, and Events Terrie Banish.

Molle’ will continue to act as police chief until a new one is selected by the city.

This is an ongoing story and will be updated as more information becomes available.