LOS BANOS -- LOS BANOS -- A 23-year veteran of the California Highway Patrol was promoted to the top spot in Los Banos this month.
Lt. Cmdr. Mike Bowles, 49, was named to his position July 1.
"I was able to start my career in Merced County, and I intend to end my career in Merced County," Bowles said Monday.
Originally from Santa Rosa, Bowles retired from the Navy after eight years at Naval Air Station Lemoore.
Bowles was assigned to patrol the Merced area in 1989 after graduating from the CHP Academy that same year. In 1995, he was assigned as a public affairs officer in Merced.
In 2000, Bowles moved to the Fresno area office, and in 2006 became supervisor of the Applicant Investigation Unit. "So, the Valley has been home since 1981," Bowles said.
Since taking a position in Fresno, the father of two and grandfather of one has lived in Madera with his wife of 30 years. He said he is exploring a move to Los Banos.
"It is my intent to retire out of this area," he said.
That goal would put Bowles in his present position for the next 11 years, as the CHP has a mandatory retirement at age 60.
"I look forward to becoming a fixture in the Los Banos area," Bowles said. "I look forward to being somebody that the communities of the Los Banos command can approach."
In a statement, Central Division Assistant Chief Willie Godinez said Bowles' experience and leadership are a "welcome addition."
"I am confident Mike's personality and leadership is a great addition to the Los Banos command, and he will soon earn the trust and community support we have enjoyed for years," Godinez said.
Bowles' predecessor, Sam Samra, took a captain's position in Fresno.
Los Banos Enterprise reporter Thaddeus Miller can be reached at (209) 388-6562 or email@example.com.