There’s a new chief in charge, for now


John Reid, acting police chief for the Chico State campus, standing in front of the university police department building. Photo credit: Natalie Hanson

Natalie Hanson and Hannah Yeager

As of two weeks ago, Chico State hired its third acting police chief in a month, but he has made it clear he isn’t here to stay.

Lt. Corinne Beck has been replaced by John Reid as the interim police chief on campus. Reid is a university police chief from Cal State Channel Islands, a college in Southern California, and has 30 years of police experience.

Reid is serving as the campus police chief until Dec 22, or until a new permanent chief is found.

“I was brought in to help bridge the gap between the previous chief, and the next,” Reid says.

According to Reid, the search for a new chief is not yet underway.

“We want to get that search going as soon as possible,” he says. “That’s going to be at best a several-month process.” He says that he will be heavily involved in the selection process for the new police chief, as well as evaluations of current staff and protocol. Human Resources’ meetings for hiring the new chief began on Sept 14.

Having never served as an interim police chief, Reid acknowledges some challenges of this temporary identity.

“So far in these two weeks, people have been very helpful, very supportive,” says Reid, who has known President Hutchinson since she was a provost and vice president for Academic Affairs at Cal State Channel Islands.

He also acknowledged the support of Vice President Stivers and the staff of the entire campus police department. “I’ve been really impressed with their professionalism and their handling of calls for service.”

After eleven years at one campus, he has been accustomed to “maintenance”, and is reported to by nearly every level of campus law enforcement. Being an interim officer is a new growth opportunity and challenge for him. He acknowledges the change of pace in his role from a long-term to a temporary position.

“That can be a challenge as it moves forward as well, just for me personally. Being an interim is different work than being an appointed chief. I have some authority as an interim chief. It’s not a complete authority.”

“To come up here and one day start working, some individuals may say why are you doing that? If it ain’t broke don’t fix it… So why would you come up here?” he explains. “So I wouldn’t have done that without the president’s support.”

Claiming that he won’t be in a position to cause any major changes, he says that he is focused on two goals – helping the campus in the process to identify the next police chief and to serve and support where needed.

“I want to give the administration an assessment of the strengths, the challenges, to review high priority protocols already in place, and to assess the department policy system, what the protocols are. So I can give the admin an idea about what might be a sequence of events that can add to the strength of the department.”

“I’m here for just a few months, I’m not here to impact big change. I’m here for assessment… to bring needs to light. If the campus knows what is needed, it will really help them to determine the new police chief.

I am here to serve and support this community. I want to hear from the community, and I want the community to reach out to me.”

Reid looks forward to an opportunity for personal development and growth, in a temporary position. He is also focused on helping in the search for a permanent chief. “I would anticipate, best case scenario, I will be here until the start of next semester.”

Hannah Yeager can be reached at [email protected] or @theorion_news