After about 13 years as head of the Dos Palos Police Department, Chief Barry Mann has announced his plans to retire, he confirmed on Wednesday.
His contract is good through the end of the year, according to city leaders, but Mann will be given the opportunity to burn up vacation days he has stored up.
The 53-year-old started his law enforcement career in Dos Palos on 2001, he said, and went on to become chief in 2004.
Praised for breaking ground in Merced County as the first African-American leader of a law enforcement agency, Mann said he was disappointed it took so long.
“In 2004, we’re just crossing over that threshold?” he asked, remembering his thoughts at the time. “There was a big deal made about it at that time. ... It shows that we still have some growing to do.”
A veteran of the Marine Corps, Mann worked a number of private sector jobs before becoming an officer.
Mann faced adversity a few years after he was hired. In 2006 and 2007, he was suspended and then reinstated as chief, according to archives.
His strong point is he’s been able to rally our department together.
Darrell Fonseca, Dos Palos city manager
Mann had been pushed out by an interim city manager on the orders of City Council members. City Manager Darrell Fonseca had also been suspended for refusing to fire Mann, according to archives. After an election led to changes on the council, Fonseca and Mann were brought back.
Mann said he had drawn a line in the sand between the police department and the council, which ruffled feathers at the time.
Fonseca, who was city manager when Mann was hired, said the department has successfully managed gang and drug crimes in Dos Palos under Mann’s management.
“His strong point is he’s been able to rally our department together,” Fonseca said.
Panels of city leaders and community members interviewed five candidates for the next chief job, Fonseca said. The city will begin background checks on the top two candidates in the coming weeks.