Longtime Escalon Police Department member Milt Medeiros wasn’t necessarily looking to make a career move. But the opportunity arose and it was too good to pass up.
Medeiros, a sergeant with Escalon, is leaving the department to become the new Police Chief in Gustine, reuniting there with his former chief, Doug Dunford, who serves as Gustine City Manager.
“I came to Escalon in March of 2001,” Medeiros said. “I came in as an officer and then was promoted to sergeant.”
Medeiros was originally hired for the job by former chief and current City Council member Walt Murken and worked with several chiefs and city managers during his 16-plus years with the department. He also served a stint as interim chief for 20 months.
“I think it’s the opportunity to implement some of the programs I’ve tried to initiate in Escalon,” Medeiros said of what he is looking forward to the most in running a department. “I like community oriented policing, it’s a philosophy.”
He has already met individually with all the City Council members in Gustine and also has met a few of the officers. He is very familiar with Dunford, having served under him for several years during Dunford’s time as chief here in the city.
“I was not actively looking,” Medeiros said of his new position. “I have enjoyed working for the city of Escalon.”
But the professional opportunity to take over a small department as chief came along at the right time.
“It sounded good, it sounds exciting,” Medeiros said.
Dunford, who has stayed in touch with Medeiros over the years, said he will be a good fit for the Gustine department.
“He and I share a lot of the same philosophies and we are still good friends,” Dunford noted, adding that the two had talked very informally in the past about the possibility of Medeiros making the move. “We had sort of joked around about it, then got serious.”
The formal start date for Medeiros is Thursday, Nov. 16 when he will be sworn in at a special City Council meeting.
“He understands small police departments and what the city wants from its police department,” said Dunford. “We have the same issues, same problems. I think we have a few more parades than Escalon – we average 24 a year.”
Medeiros will take over a department with nine sworn officers, two non-sworn support personnel and a sergeant.
“His professional, his ethics will bring a lot to the police department,” added Dunford. “I am looking forward to working with him.”
Gustine’s gain, however, is Escalon’s loss and current Escalon Police Chief Mike Borges said it is with mixed emotions that he watches Medeiros leave.
“When he gave me the notice, I said that I was happy for him and along the same lines, unhappy for me,” Borges admitted. “Trying to replace him and his institutional knowledge and his presence is going to be very difficult.”
Medeiros had been overseeing the field training officers, mentoring younger officers and was adept at both administrative and patrol duties.
“I’m not happy to see him go but I understand this was an opportunity for him,” Borges added.
Medeiros started his career in law enforcement in 1977 with Tulare County and also worked previously for the City of Exeter.
“What I’ll miss is the personnel, you make long lasting friends,” Medeiros said. “You see individuals come in, watch them grow and mature and you like to think you had a hand in that development.”
The swearing in ceremony for Medeiros is scheduled at 5 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 16, his first official day as police chief in Gustine.