SEASIDE, Calif. - UPDATE 3/2/2018 5:30 p.m.: Seaside’s new top cop is hitting the ground running. Police Chief Abdul Pridgen got into town on Wednesday and started his new job Thursday.
Pridgen has a Bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice, a Master’s degree in Public Administration and went to the FBI’s National Academy Program. He spent more than 25 years in Fort Worth, Texas, where he worked in different fields from patrol, public information, narcotics and internal affairs.
In his first few weeks here, Pridgen wants to get to know his staff. He says he also wants to create a collaborative environment with the community to make the city even better.
"You will see much more engagement from me and the police department so we want to hear from the community about what's important to them and how we can help them be safer," Pridgen said.
He replaces Robert Jackson, who retired last September after a news outlet reported he shared racially and politically charged posts on his personal Facebook page.
Pridgen has also dealt with a bit of controversy. As we reported in December, he is in the midst of a lawsuit against the city of Fort Worth, after he was demoted from assistant chief to captain. The department said he released body camera video of an incident. Pridgen said he didn’t, and those involved in hiring him spoke with witnesses who don’t believe he did either.
In a press release, City Manager Craig Malin said he “observed Mr. Pridgen has a clear record of supporting equity and professional policing over the span of decades in Fort Worth.”
But folks in Seaside have other concerns, they’d like him to tackle crime, gangs and help the homeless.
"I live up the street and the people live in the park, they try to keep clean but that's the main issue that I have a problem with, getting one-on-one with the homeless population and directing them in the right direction," said neighbor Edward Chioino.
And the new top cop wants people to bring their concerns forward.
"You can call me, you can email me, you can visit with me,” Pridgen. “I really enjoy having one-on-one conversations with members of the community and members of the police department because I think that is the most effective way to communicate and they can truly get a sense of who I am as a person and who I am as a leader."
Pridgen needs to complete POST, California Peace Officer Standards and Training, and hopes to be sworn in by the end of the month or next. His salary will be nearly $180,000.
ORIGINAL POST: Seaside's new Police Chief has taken his post and is ready to get to work.
Abdul Pridgen brings 25 years of experience in law enforcement to Seaside as the new top cop. He came from Fort Worth, Texas where he was the Assistant Police Chief.
Chief Pridgen passed the extensive pre-employment investigation that all Seaside police officers have to clear. He will start as a non-sworn Police Chief.
"Although he’s the most credentialed Police Chief Seaside has had to date, he has to complete six courses, totaling thirty-three hours, to secure a POST waiver. He’ll complete the classes in the months ahead, as they become available," said Seaside officials.
“I feel that this is a wonderful fit for the community, the organization and the citizens that align well with my history of transparency, inclusion and collaboration," Chief Pridgen said.
KION's Mariana Hicks sat down with Seaside's new chief and will have more about his plans for the city at 5 and 6 p.m.