After a comprehensive nationwide search and extensive community input, the City of Modesto has a new Police Chief. Brandon Gillespie will begin his new position as Chief of Police beginning August 17, 2021. He is currently serving as the Interim Police Chief for Modesto.
The City of Modesto began the search for a new Police Chief in March. Recognizing the essential role this position plays in making Modesto safer and developing positive relationships with the Modesto community, the City devised a thorough process to incorporate community feedback, input from Police Department staff and ensure that the new leadership aligns with the priorities of the community.
The hiring process started with two surveys to gather feedback. One survey was distributed to the general public, the other to employees of the Police Department. Overall, the feedback was similar; the most important characteristics of the next Police Chief are integrity, being a strong leader for the officers, strength to make unpopular decisions, and ability to relate with individuals from all ranks of the department.
“Of all the outstanding candidates that applied for this position, Brandon’s qualities and skills best align with what our community needs right now,” said Modesto City Manager Joe Lopez. “Throughout his long history serving Modesto, Brandon has shown to be a leader of integrity and compassion. He is ready to guide the Modesto Police Department through its next evolution.”
The feedback clarified what that evolution should look like by identifying new priorities for the Police Department. The community is looking for a leader to reduce police use of force, reduce racial disparities, and address homelessness.
During his time as the Interim Police Chief, Gillespie proved his ability to tackle these issues. He reinforced that expertise through the interview process, including several panel interviews with staff and community members.
“Chief Gillespie clearly demonstrated his knowledge and support of 21st-century policing practices,” said Mayor Sue Zwahlen. “His leadership will be critical to making Modesto a safer, more welcoming, more equitable place.”
Gillespie has spent his career serving the City of Modesto. He first joined the Police Department in 2001 as a Police Officer and worked his way up the ranks. He served as the Assistant Police Chief for two years before taking on the Interim Police Chief role in December 2020. Gillespie has already introduced new strategies to respond to calls related to homelessness and/or mental health issues more effectively by hiring civilian homeless outreach workers. He is also a strong supporter of Forward Together, a community engagement process to explore solutions to improve the safety of Modesto
“I am thrilled to be able to continue to serve my hometown community and lead our amazing department into the future,” said Gillespie of his new appointment. “I will continue to introduce new programs that further promote Modesto’s reputation as a safe, transparent, attractive, and equitable community.”