LIVINGSTON — After going without a police chief for the past four months, the Livingston City Council on Tuesday night hired a longtime lawman as the city's new top cop.
Douglas Dunford, the police chief in Escalon, will take up the new post March 1.
Dunford has been police chief in that 7,163-population San Joaquin County city since 2002 and will be taking over a Police Department approximately double the size of Escalon's.
"I felt I was ready for the next step and that was the city of Livingston," said Dunford, about the job which had 52 other applicants.
Livingston's City Manager Richard Warne said in a phone interview that Dunford was chosen because of his history of working well with city government and the community, as well as his law enforcement experience.
Dunford, 53, has been in law enforcement since 1978. He started his career as a deputy with the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department. He then worked as a police officer in Turlock and for the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway for almost a decade.
He was appointed chief of the Escalon Police Department in 2002. He is also the acting interim city manager of Escalon.
Dunford has a bachelor's degree in business management and a master's degree in leadership.
His pay will be $124,812, an increase of more than $10,000 from his Escalon job. His contract states that he is an at-will employee and can be fired without warning by the city manager. He is eligible for an eight-month severance package in the event he is fired.
He will undergo yearly performance reviews and is eligible for annual raises as well.
In a phone interview, Dunford described his management style as hands-off. He does not micromanage his officers and is a flexible and collaborative leader.
As for his approach with the public, Dunford said he always likes to hear public input. "I think they should understand that I'm open-minded, a good listener and I'm very approachable," said Dunford.
Since October, Lt. Sharon Silva has been the city's interim chief, filling in for former Police Chief Bill Eldridge while the city looked for his replacement.