TULARE, Calif. (KSEE) – The City of Tulare will soon have a new police chief. Chief Wes Hensley has announced plans to retire in June 2022 after over three decades in law enforcement. 

On Wednesday, the city held the first of two community meetings concerning who will be appointed as the next police chief took place. 

“In any organization there comes a time when you need to get out of the way, so it can progress. And I’m at that stage in my career,” Hensley said. 

“We serve the community, we can’t do our jobs without the community, so it makes sense that the community has some input on what characteristics they want in the next chief, he added. 

Wednesday evening was the first of two meetings where community members were encouraged to gather and ask questions and give input on the next chief. City Manager Marc Mondell has the final say when it comes to appointing the new chief, but he says because he’s only had this role for 6 months, he didn’t want to make that call alone. 

Hensley says there are many challenges the next chief needs to be prepared for. Including issues facing the department, like recruitment and retention, as well as issues in the community. 

“There’s been a lot of law changes in California that have made it very difficult for police administrators to provide public safety to the community. Also coming up with community-based solutions for homelessness,” he said. 

Many community members expressed concerns over if the new chief would be coming from the Tulare Police Department or from an outside agency. Many community members had questions about what kind of officers we were being considered. 

And while Hensley says he’s not making the final decision, he has a few candidates in mind and says the department, will be in good hands. 

“If you gotta be a chief of police, you want to do it in a town like Tulare,” he said. 

The next meeting will be on Sunday at 10 a.m at the community center on 201 North F Street.