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New chief professionalizing California Police Department

New chief professionalizing California Police Department

October 31st, 2018 by Liz Morales, emorales@californiademocrat.com in Local News

California Police Chief John Hoover leads the way for the rest of the Homecoming parade Sept. 28, 2018.

Photo by Liz Morales/Democrat photo

California Police Chief John Hoover said operations have been "going well," since he was sworn in Aug. 6.

He devoted 26 years at the Missouri State Parks as a law enforcement agent, serving five years as chief. He stepped away from his leadership position, retiring from the 13th Judicial Circuit in Boone County February 2017. It was there he heard about the little town of California that needed a police chief. Deciding to come out of retirement, he filled the seat and has been happily serving ever since.

"It's not different in a lot of ways," Hoover said of California Police Department. "It's a lot smaller and more intimate than the Missouri State Parks, which is all over the state. I appreciate that."

The two months Hoover has served as police chief have been filled with making policies to ensure city officials are engaged in the department and to keep California safe.

"The people we serve are customers," Hoover said. "You have to look at it that way. My officers and myself do everything we can do to help and serve our customers."

With the recent addition of two deputies, due to an adjustment in the department's salary budget, the department is close to being full staff, a project Hoover is working to complete.

Another project Hoover has spent time on is implementing 13 new policies, which will be final Nov. 1.

"Initially, I had seven policies; this week I added another six," Hoover said. "I want to give them a little time to settle."

These policies address:

Civil litigation

Conductive electric devices

Alternative/modified duty, which focuses on a formal complaint being filed against an officer

Drug/alcohol testing

Emergency vehicle operations

Evidence and property

Firearms

Found property and disposal

Post shooting procedures

Standard procedures

Use of force

"A lot of these policies are interconnected and build from others," Hoover said. "But, it's important to have good, sound policies in order to make sure officers do the right thing. California needs to have officers the public can be proud of."

The policies, Hoover said, are just the start of the process in professionalizing the department, making it safer for the public and officers alike.

"I'm trying to accomplish that right now," Hoover said. "It's something you'd like to get done quickly, but that's not realistic. Sometimes things need to get done one day at a time."