Former MPD Chief Harden now interim Escalon chief

04/16/2014 12:54 PM

04/16/2014 5:08 PM

Former Modesto Police Chief Mike Harden has come out of retirement to serve as the interim police chief in Escalon.

The city has been without a permanent chief since August 2012, when Jim Shaw retired and Sgt. Milt Medeiros filled in on an interim basis.

Escalon City Manager Tammy Alcantor said Medeiros never intended to pursue the position, so the city started a recruiting process in October.

“We didn’t hire a service to help us. We did mostly everything in-house, with the exception of advertising,” she said.

With few qualified applicants, Alcantor said, the filing date had to be extended. But the city eventually found a candidate, who was offered the job in February.

The new chief was expected to begin this month but, Alcantor said, “He accepted the position but called me a couple (of) days later and had to decline it for personal reasons.”

Harden had served on the interview panel, so Alcantor asked him if he would step in during a second round of recruitment. Harden accepted and began work at the end of March. He’s expected to fill in at least until August. He will be paid $50 an hour for his work.

Harden said that in his interim role, he is evaluating policies and assisting with the upcoming budget. “You have got to strike a balance between doing too much and not doing enough,” he said. “You are constantly evaluating what can be addressed today, what can be addressed in 30 days and what can be addressed in 60 days.”

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