Meet Sacramento’s new police chief, Rick Braziel.
Braziel: “I’m really excited. I don’t know if you can tell that. When you shake my hand, they’re sweating.”
He’ll soon be sweating over the police department’s budget. The city will face a huge deficit in the next couple of years – as high as $55 million by 2009 if the council doesn’t act. Braziel knows he’ll have to make some cuts, but:
Braziel: “We’re gonna come out leaner and a better organization for it.”
City manager Ray Kerridge made the final decision after consulting with dozens of local officials and community groups.
Kerridge: “He’s got a lot of experience and I think he’s absolutely the right person for the city at this time as we move forward.”
Braziel takes over for retiring chief Albert Najera in January.
Braziel says he’ll put a priority on what residents want the most.
Braziel: “We’re gonna focus on the basics in our town. What does the community of Sacramento expect out of their police department? And right now, it’s property crimes and gangs, and that’s going to be our focus.”
Braziel says he wants to make the police department more transparent and more proactive. He’ll also face the same challenge as other city department heads: dealing with Sacramento’s upcoming budget crunch.
Braziel has worked at the department for 28 years – the last five as deputy chief. He beat out two other deputy chiefs for the job.