Bakersfield City Manager Alan Tandy has selected the city's next police chief, Lyle Martin. The Bakersfield native has served as the city's assistant police chief since 2008, and has been with the department for 28 years.
Martin will take the department's top spot later this month, filling a seat left vacant with the retirement of current chief Greg Williamson.
In a statement released by Tandy, the city manager praised Martin's experience and knowledge of the community.
Tandy: “Lyle Martin has extensive experience in all phases of law enforcement coupled with sensitivity to Bakersfield neighborhoods and history. He is the right choice to deal with the many challenges facing law enforcement in the year 2016 and beyond.”
Martin's appointment caps a tumultuous year for the department. In December 2015, the force was the subject of international scrutiny after it was featured prominently in a report by the British newspaper The Guardian about alleged law enforcement abuses and deaths.
In May, former Bakersfield police detective Damacio Diaz plead guilty to drug and corruption charges, followed by a similar plea from his partner on the force, former detective Patrick Mara. Diaz was eventually sentenced to five years in prison, but not before he alleged widespread misconduct in the department.
In September, Williamson announced he would retire, sparking calls from some community groups for the city to hire a new chief from outside the current ranks of the department. Ultimately, the city's charter requires the city manager to hire a new chief from within the current force.
A press release issued by the city today provides more biographical information about Martin:
Assistant Chief Martin is a husband, father of five and grandfather of six. He is a Bakersfield Native and a graduate of South High School and Bakersfield College. He possesses a Bachelor and Master degrees in Business Administration from the University of Phoenix. He has worked for the Bakersfield Police Department for 28 years. His experience includes leading every division of the department.
Assistant Chief Martin is a recognized Subject Matter Expert in Law Enforcement Executive Management Development by California Peace Officers Standards and Training (POST). He was recently appointed by the Board of State and Community Corrections to the JAG Grant Executive Steering Committee for this next year’s funding cycle representing California police departments.
Assistant Chief Martin is also a member of Bakersfield Downtown Rotary, International Association of Chiefs of Police, and California Police Chiefs Association, a board member of the Bakersfield Police Activities League, California Police Officers Association, Mendiburu Magic Foundation, and Kegley Institute of Ethics Community Associate (Cal State University Bakersfield).