Clearlake Police Chief accepts job in Martinez

Clearlake Police Chief accepts job in Martinez.

Martinez City Council will approve his new employmeClearlake Policent contract during its meeting Wednesday, November 16.

He will start his first day in Martinez on Jan. 3. He will succeed Chief of Police Manjit Sappal, who retired in March.

White’s resignation follows Brian Martin, Lake County Sheriff, who announced two weeks ago that he would be retiring at the end of the year.

After 16 years in Suisun City, White, now 38, is the chief of Clearlake. When he was appointed to head the Clearlake Police Department, he had served as commander and second in-charge of the Suisun City Police Department.

White stated that it was an honor to lead the Clearlake police department members in making Clearlake safer and cleaner. “I am proud of the work that the department and the community have done in improving our city — the place I call home since moving here in 2018,” White said. Although my time here is ending, I feel confident that the department will continue to build on our successes and face any future challenges.

Alan Flora, City Manager, stated that Chief White’s impact on Clearlake during his tenure was something that he could not be prouder of. His leadership has allowed our department to excel in an important way for Clearlake’s ongoing transformation.”

White is currently in charge of a $7 million department that includes 24.5 sworn posts, code enforcement, and animal control personnel.

According to the California Department of Finance, Clearlake has 16,500 people, while Martinez has 36,908 and Martinez is located in Contra Costa County.

Martinez Police Department reports that it has 37 sworn officers, 15 full-time professionals and an annual operating budget in excess of $12 million.

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White earns $169,000. White’s annual salary with the Clearlake Police Department is $169,000. The city of Martinez proposes that White be paid $238,771.46, or $19897.62 per Month. This is nearly $70,000 more than his Clearlake Police salary.

He also receives 25 days vacation per year with an opening balance of 80 hours, a standard sick rate accrual with a balance of 40 hours, holiday pay at the same rates as other employees, and is eligible for the California Public Employers’ Retirement System 3% retirement plan at age 55.

Michael Chandler, acting City Manager, presented his report to the Martinez City Council on Nov. 16. He explained the “rigorous screening process” that a selected group of candidates had to go through. This included interviews with three panels of civil leaders, public safety officials, and an internal staff panel made up of members of the city’s executive management.

Chandler stated that White was the choice for the chief police officer position. He said White impressed him at every stage of the interview process, and he met all the criteria of the ideal candidate.

Collaboration and creative solutions

Clearlake’s Chief White was instrumental in implementing what city officials described as a “robust effort” to reduce crime and blight. This included community engagement, collaboration, and creative problem solving. The result has been a drop in crime to historic levels and significant reductions in blight.

California Department of Finance

He created a culture of excellence, accountability, and wellness in the department that had a dramatic and positive impact on retention and recruitment. This led to lower turnover and improved community satisfaction.

White has also overseen the construction of the animal shelter and the upgrading of animal control services within the city. White is an animal lover and has fostered dogs at his home.

The city was forced to respond to natural disasters during his tenure. These included flooding in 2019, and the 2021 Cache fire which destroyed many homes.

COVID-19 was another challenge. It brought with it a long list of sheltering in place requirements and had a specific impact on law enforcement.

White’s valuable work was not limited to the city. White also worked with local governments and agencies to provide greater assistance during times of crisis.

White started his first day in Lake County as a clerk at Lakeport City Hall. He assisted staff with the Mendocino Complex fire response, which forced the city to be evacuated.

Clearlake and Lakeport councils approved an agreement to provide additional law enforcement services between their police departments. Clearlake Police officers were able to assist Lakeport Police in policing duties, while Lakeport had short staffing.

White was also the police chief and finance officer from 2020-2021, when the city was looking for a permanent finance director.

Flora stated that White would be missed by the City Council and the police department staff, as well as the entire organization, community members, me personally, and the entire organization. But I am confident that his efforts helped position the department so that we can move forward and continue the efforts and goals set. We are confident that he will be a good and honest citizen of Martinez, and we wish him and Charlotte all the best.”

White thanked everyone who supported him, including Flora, the City Council, Flora and city and department staff, as well as public safety partners and the community. “I will miss everybody, but I look forward to hearing all about the great things that are coming to Clearlake!”

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