Martinez, Concord get new police chiefs

Commander Gary Peterson, a veteran of the Martinez Police Department since 1989, will become the department's new chief next month, a police dispatcher said.

Peterson has served the force as a patrol officer, detective, and SWAT team member, the dispatcher said. He has held the ranks of sergeant, and then commander since 2008, she said.

Peterson will be assuming the position vacated by retiring police Chief Tom Simonetti on Dec. 17, she said.

Concord's new police chief, Capt. Guy Swanger of the San Diego Police Department, was found after what the department called "an exhaustive nationwide recruitment effort" that netted more than 60 applicants, Concord police said.

That pool was then narrowed down to applicants that went through an interview process involving members of the city's business community, residents, city staff, and bargaining units, police said.

Swanger will take over the position left by Chief David Livingston - who was recently elected as the new Contra Costa County sheriff - on Jan. 3, 2011, police said.

Swanger has been with the San Diego Police Department since 1991 and reached the rank of captain in 2005. He graduated from the FBI National Academy in 2008, police said.

In his current position as the leader of San Diego's police investigations division, Swanger oversees 165 sworn investigators and 25 civilian support staff members, police said.

Swanger was also responsible for more than 300 people in the department's traffic division and operational support unit during a stint as the acting assistant chief, Concord police said.

Swanger's leadership experience has also extended to San Diego's Office of the Mayor, where he managed the city's Family Justice Center from 2008 to 2009, police said.

Swanger earned a B.A. in History from the University of San Diego and a master's degree in public administration from San Diego State University, police said.

He also co-authored the book "Managing Innovation in Policing: The Untapped Potential of the Middle Manager," which has been used by universities and police command colleges, Concord police said.

"Capt. Swanger's wide range of command experience in San Diego, and his proven ability to approach problems in innovative ways will make him a valuable asset to our community," Concord City Manager Dan Keen said in a statement.

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