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Andrade named new police chief

Merced Police Department Cmdr. Norm Andrade was promoted Monday to chief, ending the two-month internal search.

In front of the main station on West 22nd Street, City Manager John Bramble announced that Andrade, a 20-year veteran with the department, would succeed Russ Thomas.

Bramble had a pool of six candidates, which included the other commander, Floyd Higdon, and four lieutenants.

Thomas retired in July. He's serving as the interim public works director and evaluating the department for inefficiencies.

Andrade joined the department Jan. 30, 1989. He was promoted to sergeant seven years later to oversee the patrol division.

In 1999, he became the administrative sergeant, overseeing training, fleet management, public information and communications.Then-Chief Tony Dossetti promoted Andrade to commander in 2003.

Reporter Scott Jason can be reached at (209) 385-2453 or