Manjit Sappal Named Police Chief in California

A longtime police officer in Richmond, Calif., Indian American Manjit Sappal will become the next chief of police in nearby Martinez, Calif. Sappal, selected from a group of six finalists – Martinez police interim chief Eric Ghisletta resigned and withdrew his name from consideration in May – by the Martinez City Council, is moving on to the next phase of his career beginning Aug. 31, taking over for Gary Peterson, who left Richmond police in June 2014.

“I’m honored to have been selected, and I think that being in a position to make a meaningful impact in the community through public service is extremely rewarding, as I have spent most of my professional life in public service,” Sappal told India-West. “I am certainly looking forward to the new challenges that come with my new position, and I am very excited to continue with relationship building, collaborating and problem-solving in the city of Martinez.”

Members of the city council are scheduled to approve Sappal’s employment agreement at an Aug. 19 meeting. His base salary as chief will be $175,000. “From a pool of very strong candidates we interviewed, it was clear Capt. Sappal possesses the credentials, passion and focus necessary to effectively lead our police force and continue the city’s commitment to make Martinez the best community it can be,” Mayor Rob Schroder said in a statement.

Sappal was a patrol officer for the Pittsburg, Calif., Police Department from 1995 to 1997 before moving to the Richmond Police Department, where he spent 18 years as an officer, detective, sergeant, lieutenant and captain.

“The last 18 years with the Richmond Police Department has been an incredible experience, and the community, as well as the city, have made immense strides in strengthening police-community relations, decreasing crime and improving the quality of life for residents,” Sappal told India-West. “The experience has been nothing short of spectacular as have been the relationships I have with those that I work with in the department and in the community.

“I will certainly miss all of the people I have been fortunate enough to work with,” he added.

The soon-to-be police chief leads Richmond police’s southern district and is on the department’s executive management team.

A graduate of the University of Phoenix, Golden Gate University and the FBI National Academy, Sappal oversees the department’s crime-analysis unit, K-9 program, criminal investigative section, use of force review committee and range/armory function.

“Irrespective of whether I was given this opportunity or not, the years of working with the community through the ranks have been a testament to the meaningful purpose of being able to problem solve crime and quality of life issues in collaboration with all stakeholders affected,” Sappal concluded.

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