City of Merced logoCity Manager Stephanie Dietz announced that Craig Gundlach will join the Merced Police Department as interim Police Chief on Monday, March 6, 2023. Gundlach has worked in law enforcement and public safety industries for over 31 years.

In August of 2022, Police Chief Thomas Cavallero announced plans to retire after an impressive 37-year career in law enforcement. Chief Cavallero began his retirement in December 2022.

As Interim Chief, Gundlach will lead the Department during the City’s nationwide search for its next Chief of Police. “Chief Gundlach has a solid background in police operations, and I look forward to his leadership,” said City Manager Stephanie Dietz. “I would also like to thank Acting Chief Joe Weiss for his steadfast leadership during the last several weeks leading up to the arrival of Chief Gundlach.”

With 28 years of experience in law enforcement, Gundlach retired from his role as Captain in Modesto, Ca, an agency consisting of 210 sworn, 104 civilian, and 38 volunteer and police explorer positions. His priorities included strengthening the relationship between the department and the people it serves and working to make Modesto a safe and welcoming community.

Interim Chief Gundlach is a graduate of the FBI National Academy in Quantico, Virginia. In addition, he holds a Bachelor of Science in Occupational Studies from CSU, Long Beach.

Gundlach expressed his willingness to serve as Interim Chief and stated, “I place a high value on public safety and service to the community. I am committed to providing the Department with continuity and look forward to working with the men and women of the Merced Police Department through the transition to a permanent chief.”

The City has retained Bob Murray & Associates to conduct a robust national search for a permanent Police Chief. The interim assignment is expected to extend approximately six months.

A public outreach process began February 8, 2023, with recruitment activity to follow. The City invites the public to participate in an online survey to provide input that reflects the community’s needs and values. “We are committed to transparent and equitable public engagement during the search for the City’s Chief of Police,” Dietz said. “Input from our community, officers, elected officials, and labor groups will be critical to the selection process.”

To participate in the public outreach process, please visit

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