A former Modesto Police Department lieutenant is returning to the area to become Oakdale’s top crime fighter.
The Oakdale City Council voted unanimously Monday night to approve an employment contract for its new chief, Scott Heller, who worked in Modesto for 17 years before leaving to become police chief for the Placerville Police Department.
As Oakdale’s new chief, Heller will oversee 22 sworn staff and a budget of $4.9 million.
During his time in Modesto, Heller worked as a patrol officer, robbery/homicide sergeant, Stanislaus Drug Enforcement Agency Task Force sergeant, SWAT sergeant, commander of the Gang and Narcotics Units and Assistant Investigative Services Division Commander.
“Oakdale deserves a chief who has the knowledge and experience to move the department forward. After an extensive recruitment, I believe we have made an excellent choice with Mr. Heller,” City Manager Bryan Whitemyer said in a press release. “He has a solid law enforcement background, a high-energy collaborative leadership style, and the vision to plan for the future needs of our community.”
Heller served in the U.S. Air Force for four years during Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm. After his discharge, Heller earned a bachelor of arts in political science from Stanislaus State and a master’s degree in emergency services administration from California State University, Long Beach. He joined the Modesto Police Department in 1997.
Heller’s first day with Oakdale is Oct. 28. The City will hold a public swearing-in reception on Nov. 1 at 4 p.m. at the Gene Bianchi Community Center.
Heller replaces Lester Jenkins, who retired this spring after 25 years with the Oakdale Police Department and three years at the helm. Former Modesto Police Chief Mike Harden has served as Oakdale’s interim chief since June.