SEASIDE, Calif. - Seaside city leaders are narrowing down the search for a new police chief.
City manager Craig Malin said of the 51 candidates who have applied for the job, there are now three finalists. One is from the Central Coast, the other two are from Texas.
Acting Seaside Police Chief Judy Veloz has been filling in since the retirement of Robert Jackson in September.
Major Max Geron is from Dallas, Tex. According to Malin, he has a master’s degree in Homeland Security from the Naval Postgraduate School and attended the FBI Academy.
Capt. Abdul Pridgen is from Fort Worth and has a master’s degree in public administration and a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice. He too attended the FBI Academy.
Malin said the next step in the hiring process is to perform onsite reference checks and have the candidates take leadership assessment tests. He plans to leave for Texas next week to find out more about the candidates to see if they would fit in Seaside.
"We're looking for somebody who exhibits excellent leadership behavior, someone who is well connected to the community, as enthusiastic as practicing empathy as he or she may be as suppressing crime," Malin said.
The new top cop will take over after Robert Jackson left his post in September.
He retired days after a Monterey County Weekly column published a story, revealing Jackson had shared a racially and politically charged piece on his personal Facebook page.
One story from the America’s Freedom Fighters website listed President Barack Obama’s “Accomplishments as the first Black president,” which such things as “the first president to marry a man” and “the first president to smoke crack cocaine in the White House.”
He was put on administrative leave after the revelation, but because of privacy reasons, Seaside city leaders could not comment on personnel issues.
Malin hopes to make a decision on who will be the city’s next chief by December 21st.