Kevin Kilgore was recently appointed as the new police chief of the Sebastopol Police Department after the city spent over a year on the lookout for a permanent authority figure since Police Chief James Conner retired in December 2019.

Kevin Kilgore

Kevin Kilgore

Concluding a selection process drawn out by the COVID-19 pandemic, leadership will transfer from Interim Chief Don Mort to Kilgore when he gets sworn in on March 1. The public can attend a virtual introduction at the March 2 city council meeting.

The city previously appointed Daniel Healy, second-in-command at Suisun City Police Department to the position, but he backed away from the role two weeks before his scheduled installation in December 2020.

City Manager Larry McLaughlin contacted the city’s recruiter, Peckham & McKenney, Inc. to locate candidates who previously caught eyes in earlier vetting rounds after learning Healy withdrew from the police chief role in December.

“Kevin’s background and experience really impressed us from the start, and he was originally one of our top candidates. We’re glad that he again became available after a prior candidate had to withdraw,” McLaughlin said in a statement from the city. “In a small community like ours it’s especially important that our police chief be skilled in building collaborative relationships with the public, department and city personnel, and Kevin has demonstrated leadership in these areas and beyond.”

The city’s notice said Kilgore’s 24 years in law enforcement led him from a deputy sheriff position in Lebanon, Ohio in 1997 and nearly a decade in the state’s southwestern region to the police departments of University of California, Santa Barbara and last, University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), where he rose to lieutenant in 2017.

“I appreciate the confidence and support from City Manager McLaughlin, Assistant City Manager and City Clerk Gourley, Mayor Glass and City Council,” Kilgore said in a statement. “I am honored and humbled to be your chief of police, and I am excited to work together with the members of the police department, the city personnel and leadership, and the community for many years to come.”

According to the press release from the city, Kilgore brings to Sebastopol a love of biking, horse-riding and a lengthy curriculum vitae, including graduation from Northwestern University School of Police Staff and Command in Evanston, Illinois, the UCLA Anderson School of Management Executive Program in Management, a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice management from Union Institute and University in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Furthermore, he received a Master of Public Administration in Organizational Leadership from National University in San Diego, the press release said, adding “he created a California POST (Peace Officer Standards and Training)- certified course in procedural justice and implicit bias and has taught the course throughout the state to community members and police department and city personnel.”

The press release lists in Kilgore’s background being president of the UC Santa Barbara Police Department Police Officers Association, vice president of the UCLA Police Department Police Officers Association and, at UCLA, advancing campus police liaison programs for the LGBTQ Campus Resource Center and other university organizations and the UCLA Alcohol Diversion program “for first-time UCLA student offenders of alcohol and minor drug laws.”

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