• Police Chief Engles resigns

    Citing work load and staffing issues as part of the reason, Pacific Grove Police Chief Darius Engles has tendered his resignation effective mid-January, 2010.

    “I have a concern with the staffing levels at the department,” he said.

    Engles has run an understaffed department for three years now. Budgeted for 23 sworn officers, the department currently has 18 which results in a lot of overtime for other officers and extra duties for the chief himself. Even if all the positions were filled, Engles says that on average there would be three people out at any given time due to vacations, training requirements, sick leave, long-term disabilities or family emergencies. If an officer is out on a disability or leave, the position cannot be filled by a new recruit,  leaving the department short-handed.

    “Do I have what I need to run this department efficiently, per expectations?” he asked. “The answer is no.”

    He states that he has had a lot of difficulty filling those empty positions, primarily because of talk of bankruptcy for the city and agitation for withdrawing from CalPERS, the state retirement system. “I lost good recruitments and good officers,” he said. “Open talk about bankruptcy, and the question of the surety of employment, have greatly affected us in regards to recruitment and retraining.”

    In a budget strategy proposal to the City Council on August 19, 2009 the Manager of Budget and Finance Jim Becklenberg recommended that one of those empty posts — that of a detective — be de-funded entirely.

    The reduction of staffing does not sit well with Engles, who has been asked to explore the possibility of a new model for providing police services which would involve cooperation with other nearby jurisdictions.

    While there may be some possibilities of success with other agencies he states that he feels it would be better for all concerned if a new chief were hired who could start fresh with a new model.

    “That is a tremendous undertaking, and the city will have to commit the resources to investigate, negotiate, plan and implement cooperating with other agencies. With all the extra tasks that we have had to take on due to shortages I realized I’m not your guy,” he said.

    Engles has also been working on the Emergency Operations Center Plan, a duty which had, in the past, fallen to the fire department; this in addition to his regular duties as chief and filling in for absent officers.

    Chief Engles, 54, says that he is not eligible for full retirement, but that it was not an issue. It is clear to him; it’s just time to go.

    Chief Engles was born and raised in Pacific Grove.  He attended Forest Grove Elementary School, the PG Middle School and graduated from PG High in 1973.  He attended MPC and transferred to CSU, Sacramento and graduated with a BA in Criminal Justice.  He worked for the Davis Police Department as a reserve Police Officer and then worked for the Sacramento Sheriff’s Department for approximately 10 years.

    In 1985 he moved back home (PG) and started a successful real estate company.  He also worked for several non-profit organizations and was “coaxed” to come back into police work by Commander Tom Uretsky (ret) in 1998.

    posted to Cedar Street Times on August 20, 2009

    Topics: Current Edition, Front PG News


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