After a laborious four-month search, the City of Madera has selected a new Police Chief, according to Dave Tooley, city administrator. Tooley's goal, according to an interview last August, was to have a new chief in place by the end of the year.
By the end of the application process, more than 50 application packages were considered for the position, Tooley said. Extensive interview and background checks were conducted, and Kime best suited the city's needs, Tooley said.
"Michael will be an excellent match for Madera," Tooley said. "The city's research confirms that he has both the requisite experience and qualities to serve Madera's needs."
These qualities, Tooley said, include Kime's 34-years of experience as a law enforcement professional.
"He is a police officer's policeman," Tooley said.
Kime's background check revealed he is regarded as a mentor to younger "police professionals," he said.
"He has served as an active community leader representing the Sacramento Police Department," Tooley said. "He has hosted a community access television program ... (and) leaders from the minority community give him very high marks for involvement, credibility and responsiveness."
Tooley said Kime, who will take over on an interim basis on Dec. 9, is also regarded by his superior officers as an effective administrator with excellent analytical skills.
A seasoned veteran, Kime currently serves as a lieutenant with Sacramento, where he is responsible for a budget of $7 million and oversees 100 employees.
"I look forward to the transition from a larger environment to Madera," Kime said. "I look forward to the challenges — Really, I can't wait to start."
Kime said his initial goal is to work to build a strong relationship between the department and the community.
"I want input from the community on what kind of service they want," Kime said.
He feels it is important to be "proactive," he said, and the "vision from the community" is essential in learning what issues are important to the citizens. He also intends to address the gang issue, and feels the best way to educate youth is through the school system.
"Madera already has Resource Officers," Kime said, "and expanding the officer's role and implementing gang prevention programs could be a first step in fighting gang activity."
He also intends to evoke community involvement in battling crime through "community policing" and uniting the officers together toward the common goal. "When the entire department is focused in the same direction, there's more opportunity to succeed," he said.
Community policing, he said, involves officers spending more time making contact with the citizens, and becoming more proactive instead of reactive. "You reduce the calls for service," he said, "the repeated calls. This gives the officers more time to be proactive."
While this process would cost more in the beginning "to target the mission," he said the end result is a safer community. He did not commit to putting more officers on the street, but he said he will manage the officer's time more wisely.
Kime was in middle management with the Sacramento department when an officer accidentally drew a service weapon and shot a suspect. The event, where the officer intended to draw a TASER, is almost a mirror reflection of Madera's incident from Oct. 27. As a result of the incident, Kime said, changes were immediately made in both the color of the TASER, and on which side officers wore the weapon. This is among the experience and knowledge Kime brings with him to the department, he said, and he will implement changes as he sees fit.
Asked about the fact that many citizens refuse to talk, giving officers the "I know nothing" response out of fear of retaliation, Kime said this is another problem he wants to target. "We need to build trust within the community," he said, "reach out and try to touch them, make sure they understand they're going to benefit from ... giving (officers) the information."
Neighborhood watch Madera used to have several Neighborhood Watch programs, but they have died out over the years. Kime said that while these programs have certain benefits, the trouble is getting people to commit themselves.
"A lot of people don't want to get involved until they become a victim," he said. "The idea is so simple. But why don't more people participate and remain active. They believe things have gotten better, and they move on."
The idea, he said, is to continue the program even when crime has diminished, to work together to reduce crime and increase the quality of life. Kime said he would like to educate the community on crime and teach them how to avoid becoming a victim. This, he said, is the first step in crime prevention.
A native of California, Kime grew up in Sacramento. He served in the United States Marine Corps as an Administrative Chief and Personnel Data Analyst. He was a Sergeant when he received an Honorable Discharge. After his discharge, he attended Sacramento City College, where he majored in Police Science. While there, he worked part time and received monetary assistance from the federal government through a GI bill. He obtained an Associate of Science Degree, and continued his education at California State University, Sacramento, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Criminal Justice.
He has received more than 2,200 hours of specialized professional training in addition to his college education, and in 1982, he earned a teaching credential and has taught several classes at the Police Academy.
He began working with the Sacramento Police Department in 1968, and since has built an extensive base of experience in virtually all areas of law enforcement, including operations, administration, investigations, community relations, and technical services.
Kime has served as Chief of Police for Grant Union Joint High School District, a full service department serving a large, diverse population.
Kime enjoys spending time with his family, and has several hobbies including his 1955 Chevrolet Bel Air, Harley-Davidson, traveling in his motor home, and playing racquetball.
Kime's employment agreement will be considered by City Council during its Dec. 18 meeting.