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Nevada City taps retired San Francisco policeman as its new chief

Nevada City has found its fourth police chief in three years.

Tim Foley, a retired lieutenant with the San Francisco Police Department, will take the reins Feb. 3, said City Manager David Brennan at a Thursday meeting of the Nevada City Council.

Foley, who has lived in Walnut Creek and done some consulting work since his retirement, will take over for Interim Police Chief Scott Berry, who took on the job following the exit of former interim chief Jim Wickham at the beginning of October.



Wickham, a retiree from the Mill Valley police department who had planned to work for Nevada City in a part-time capacity until the city’s tax revenues could fund a full-time police chief, left the position earlier than he had expected under pressure from the state’s employee pension program.

Brennan, also a part-time retiree, has said that staffing key municipal positions with part-time annuitants is a tactic Nevada City has used to save millions of dollars in avoided salaries and pension contributions.




In November 2012, residents approved a 3/8-cent sales tax hike to prop up city services for five years. One of the key expenditures of those funds was to bring on a full-time police chief — something Wickham had said he was not interested in jeopardizing his Mill Valley benefits to pursue.

However, he had not expected to leave until at least March 2014, when added revenues would be sufficient to hire a full-time replacement.

Without the funds to support a full-time replacement and the California Public Employees’ Retirement System breathing down the city’s neck, the city tapped Berry, a retired Truckee police chief, to step in also as a part-time annuitant while the city looked for a full-time replacement.

“We’re very grateful for (Berry’s) service to date and his willingness to help with the transition,” Brennan said Thursday.

Foley’s transition into office will occur over the next six weeks, Brennan noted. The new chief will start on a limited schedule Dec. 15 and will become the full-time chief in February.

“He will be getting his feet wet, you might say, during that period,” Brennan said.

The new chief brings with him more than 33 years of law enforcement experience. Prior to his 2010 retirement from SFPD, Foley reportedly worked as an acting commander at several district stations and served as the officer in charge of the department’s professional development section, according to Brennan.

“He is well-versed and experienced in crime reduction strategies and other events held in San Francisco,” Brennan noted in a prepared statement.

The city manager noted Foley’s experience in community-based outreach efforts related to homelessness, mental illness, neighborhood-level community policing programs and supported youth development, as well as his experience planning and managing large city events in San Francisco, including the Millennium Celebration at Union Square and a NBC All-Star Party.

To contact Staff Writer Christopher Rosacker, email crosacker@theunion.com or call 530-477-4236.


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