Twenty-year police veteran Scott Heller was named chief of police after he was unanimously approved by the Oakdale City Council prior to the start of the council’s regular meeting Monday night, Oct. 17.
Heller is currently the chief of police for Placerville where he has served in the role since 2013.
“I am honored to have been selected and look forward to serving the citizens of this great city, working alongside the men and women of the Oakdale Police Department,” Heller said in a city press release.
Before leading the Placerville Police Department, Heller served the Modesto Police Department for 17 years, rising from a patrol officer in 1997 and holding numerous assignments, including patrol, tactical patrol unit, robbery-homicide investigations, Stanislaus Drug Enforcement Agency Task Force sergeant, SWAT sergeant, commander of the Gang and Narcotics Units and Assistant Investigative Services Division Commander.
Heller has a master’s degree in emergency services administration from California State University in Long Beach and a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from California State University, Stanislaus.
Following his high school graduation from a Bay Area high school, Heller joined the United States Air Force and served for four years during Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm.
“Oakdale deserves a Chief who has the knowledge and experience to move the department forward. After an extensive recruitment, I believe we have made an excellent choice with Mr. Heller,” said City Manager Bryan Whitemyer. “He has a solid law enforcement background, a high-energy collaborative leadership style, and the vision to plan for the future needs of our community.”
Interim Police Chief Mike Harden, who promoted Heller to lieutenant when Harden was police chief at Modesto said Heller was the right choice for the department.
“He’s a hard working individual who has the highest degree of integrity and character,” Harden said. With his knowledge, skills, and what I know about the Oakdale Police Department, it’s a marriage.”
Chief Heller’s first day with the city will be Oct. 28.
The City of Oakdale will be holding a swearing-in reception on Nov. 1 at 4 p.m. at the Gene Bianchi Community Center to allow all interested community members the opportunity to meet Chief Heller.
Heller replaces Lester Jenkins who retired after 25 years with the Oakdale Police Department and served as police chief for three years.