Merced has two new police captains, the first in about 30 years, according to Police Chief Norm Andrade.
Andrade swore in Capt. Tom Trindad and Capt. Bimley West during a ceremony at City Hall on Friday. West and Trindad previously held the rank of lieutenant.
Andrade said he made the decision to hire captains to try to simplify the hierarchy of responsibility in the department.
For the past three decades, he said, the department has used the description “commander” as a catch-all, which can sometimes cause confusion. Adding captains could clear that up.
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“It just makes for a little more clarification,” Andrade said, adding that having captains follows a statewide trend.
Andrade said it has been six or seven years since the department promoted any officers. Budget cuts and a difficult economy has left Merced with too tight a budget for any such promotions.
Andrade said he expects to make some more promotions in the coming months. “Things are looking better,” he said.
West, 58, is originally from Louisiana. He moved to California in the late 1970. He worked in a juvenile hall and adult correctional facility in Stanislaus County before joining Merced’s police force.
West has served at several ranks in his 27 years with Merced, including as a member of the Special Weapons and Tactics team, a field trainer and a detective.
West earned a bachelor’s degree in administration of justice from Ohio-based Union Institute and University, and is working on a master’s degree in organizational leadership from Columbia Southern University of Alabama.
West said he enjoys working for the people of Merced. He said he is in no hurry to retire, because he wants to be part of Merced’s improvement and growth. “I believe in this one thing – service above self,” West said.
Trindad, a native of Atwater, has been with Merced police for 26 years. He has held several ranks in the department, from corporal to captain.
Trindad said he is proud to serve Merced and is excited about his promotion. “It really is a big opportunity for the department and for myself as well,” the 48-year-old said. “I’m very proud of the service that the police provide.”
Trindad, a 1983 graduate of Atwater High, earned his bachelor’s in social science from Chapman University. He is studying for a master’s in criminology, law and society at the University of California, Irvine.
Each captain will make $115,344 plus benefits in annual salary, about $5,500 more than they were paid as lieutenants.