California Police Chief- Fall 2013 - Page 9

Jeff Kermode says he feels at home in Tehachapi. Even in suburban Irvine, he found his way onto a horse. The ostrich ranches, wind farms and quaint stores and restaurants that define Tehachapi are light years removed from bustle of suburbia that Kermode used to patrol. When he was a commander at Irvine PD, Kermode oversaw a staff of 60 to 70. When he was hired as police chief of Tehachapi in November 2006, with orders to take the department live by July 1, 2007, Kermode had no staff – or even police uniforms. He helped design the patches on the uniforms, and recruited the two sergeants and eight officers who made up the new Tehachapi PD. The department now is up to 11 officers, including a full-time school resources officer and a full-time detective. Kermode had a taste of the rural life while working for the Irvine PD. For several years, he lived in Orange County’s rustic Trabuco Canyon, down the street from a famous old-style steakhouse. He’s been riding horses for 15 years. Plans call for growing the Tehachapi PD to 20 sworn officers over the next two decades. Planning also is under way to build a new police station to replace the currently cramped quarters, a former sheriff ’s substation. Kermode won’t be around as police chief to witness all these changes. He says he plans to ride off into the sunset in a few years and enjoy retirement – not as a city boy, but as an ex-cop on a horse, enjoying life with his family in the great outdoors. “It’s like getting to be a kid again,” Kermode says. • Fall 2011 |