• Police Chief Engles to retire in July

    Pacific Grove Police Chief Darius Engles will retire July 21 after nearly six years of heading the department. This time, he plans to make it stick and is already making plans for his post-retirement. “I’ve never taken more than two weeks off,” he said. “I intend to take at least two months” before making up his mind about other job offers he has had, he said.

    In August, 2009 Engles had tendered his resignation to then-Interim City Manager Charlene Wiseman as it became clear that the City Council would de-fund a major position which had been vacant, that of police detective sergeant. The move reduced the number of sworn officers budgeted to 22.

    “With all the extra tasks that we have had to take on due to shortages I realized I’m not your guy,” he said at the time. Four of those positions had been vacant for months and years as recruits heard rumors of bankruptcy and reduced benefits and passed by the opportunity to work in America’s Last Hometown.

    But the new City Manager, Tom Frutchey, then convinced Engles that he was, after all, the guy.

    Frutchey committed, in discussions with Engles, to filling all the police officer positions allocated by the City Council and to seeking a hiring and budget solution that would ensure the Police Department would not long remain under the allocation of 22 sworn officers.

    That was then. It is now down to 19.

    But that’s not why Engles is retiring.

    Budget struggles have gotten worse, if anything, but Chief Engles has sought creative solutions to the problem of protecting the citizens of Pacific Grove. He sought shared services with the City of Carmel, believing at the time that when their then-Chief George Rawson retired Engles would be chief of both cities. But Carmel, finding themselves under-staffed, backed away. Tim Green is now Chief of Police for Carmel.

    Recently, Pacific Grove has hired a Seaside officer under a shared agreement with that City, whereby Seaside continued some benefits and saved Pacific Grove money in the process. And the Pacific Grove City Council just a few weeks ago approved the increase of part-time, temporary officer to be in line with state law, permitting Pacific Grove Police Department to bring on an annuitant from Santa Clara Police Department.

    Now a shared services agreement with Seaside is under consideration. Seaside and Pacific Grove would share one chief and thus the training and other administrative duties undertaken by the Chief would be performed by Seaside Police Chief Vicki L.H. Myers. Seaside’s City Council approved a plan at their May 3, 2012 meeting. They affirmed that they didn’t want a combined police/fire chief but want to pursue a shared services model with Pacific Grove.

    “If this model can come together, why wait?” asked Engles. “This is a new realm of cost efficiency. We need to try this model. The timing is right.”

    Engles says he came from a hard-working family. “We worked every day, all day except Sunday,” he said.

    “I’m thankful to have been given the opportunity here in Pacific Grove,” he said.

    He used a cooperative style of leadership, and his staff say they will miss him sorely. Cdr. John Nyunt said, “He is a great person to work for. He embodies all those great leadership traits. I think the city doesn’t realize what an exceptional person he is, and I have great respect for him.”

    Engles, 57, was born and raised in Pacific Grove, attending Forest Grove Elementary, Pacific Grove Middle School and Pacific Grove High School. He attended Monterey Peninsula College before transferring to California State University, Sacramento in 1975 where he earned a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice. He was hired in 1977 by the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department, where he worked in patrol, the Special Enforcement Division delta boat patrol and as a Field Training Officer.

    When Phil Penko became Chief of the Monterey Police Department, he said that his first ride-along as a high school student was with then-officer Engles in Sacramento, and knowing Engles convinced him to pursue a career in law enforcement.

    He returned to Pacific Grove in 1985 and worked in real estate before joining the Pacific Grove Police Department in 1998 at the urging of retired Cdr. Tom Uretsky. He rose through the ranks, serving as corporal, sergeant and commander before being promoted to chief in 2006.Besides police chief duties, Engles served as a representative in groups including Monterey County Executive Committee of the Community Corrections Partnership, Monterey County Juvenile Justice Coordinating Council, the Monterey Peninsula Special Response Unit, the Monterey County Gang Task Force Steering Committee and the Emergency Communication Users Advisory Committee.



    posted to Cedar Street Times on May 11, 2012

    Topics: Front PG News, Police Log, Marge Ann Jameson


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