The city of California has filled its vacant police chief position, officially extending an offer to interim California Police Department Chief Daniel Hurt.
Hurt accepted the position Wednesday morning.
The hire concludes a month-long hiring process that saw the California Board of Aldermen interview four of the six candidates from which it received applications Tuesday.
The position vacated Oct. 31, when former chief Shane Templeton resigned. Hurt will be the city's fourth police chief in about the past two years.
Hurt said he was caught off guard to hear that he was being offered the position.
"I was speechless when I was called," Hurt said. "I didn't know what to say because I really wasn't sure if I was going to get it or not."
Hurt said he was honored to be offered the position, especially among a pool of equally qualified candidates.
"One of the officers I knew really well," Hurt said. "He's a very good guy, so it was a good feeling when they offered me the position. There were some good applicants."
Hurt said now that he is officially serving as chief, he'd first like to get a department structure in place.
"I'd like to get my captain and sergeant in line, and I'd also like to talk to my officers and let them know what's expected from them and what things I'd like to do," Hurt said.
With Hurt's shift into the chief position and an officer resignation reported at December's City Council meeting, the department is currently short two officers. Hurt said these positions have been posted, with sights on making hires at that level soon to bring the department staff back to full capacity.
Hurt said as he served in the interim role for the past month and a half or so, he'd been trying to look ahead as if he'd be getting the position, if only so he would be better prepared to hit the ground running if offered the full-time job. For example, Hurt said, he's already looked into officer training, something he outlined as a goal when he first took on the interim mantle in October.
"Whenever you have new officers, the more training you can give them, the better off they are," Hurt said. "(It gives) them more tools."