Handy Departing As San Bernardino Police Chief

(October 25) Buffeted by the city of San Bernardino’s filing of bankruptcy last year together with a spike in crime that included 47 murders citywide in 2012 along with recent proposals from the city’s top elected officials to dissolve his department and contract with the county sheriff’s department for law enforcement service, San Bernardino Police Chief Robert Handy yesterday announced his resignation effective in December.
Handy, who has served as the police chief in the county seat since October 2011 after he was lured to San Bernardino from the Phoenix Police Department in Arizona where he had been a police officer for 21 years and had risen to the rank of commander, will become chief of Huntington Beach’s police force after his departure.
Handy indicated San Bernardino’s bankruptcy and burgeoning political travails, including an ongoing recall effort against city council members and the filing of criminal charges against two others, one of whom has now resigned, pushed him into leaving. “Considering the constantly changing environment at City Hall, I decided to seek the position to stabilize my career,” Handy wrote in an email to employees. “The election is unpredictable, I am now working with my third city manager, third finance director, and all new department heads. In that context, it is also important to consider I am (an) at-will employee and can be released at any time for no cause.”
Handy has been the latest in a string of relatively short-lived police chiefs. He replaced Keith Kilmer, who had succeeded Michael Billdt and Garrett Zimmon. All four averaged tenures of just a little over two-and-one-half years each.
During his time in office, the police department has downsized significantly as financial difficulties culminating in last year’s bankruptcy have rocked the city. When he started as police chief, the department had 350 sworn officers and 104 non-sworn personnel. At present, after sustaining a $6 million cut to the police department budget, it is down to 249 officers and 63 civilian employees.

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