BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — The community heard from the new chief of the Bakersfield Police Department Wednesday morning.
For the last 23 years, Chief Greg Terry has served in a number of different roles within the Bakersfield Police Department, most recently he served as both the Interim and Assistant Police Chief.
Terry said former Police Chief Lyle Martin left the BPD in a really good spot to ensure that this is an easy transition of leadership and responsibilities.
While the COVID-19 pandemic has been impacting so many in the Bakersfield community and nationally, Terry said plans for the department have not changed. He said he still looks to hire 100 new police officers as planned and the new training facility is still yielding new graduates from the police academy. He also said the new body cameras for the department are delayed because of COVID-19 but they are still on the way.
As for the goals going forward, Terry said he is sticking with former Chief Lyle Martin’s theme and is ensuring the community that all resources required to combat the gang violence in Bakersfield will still remain a top priority. However, he did say COVID-19 will likely impact next year's budget for the department.
"The other resources that we were going to use to address some of the more widely and broader public safety issues. Some of those may have to be scaled back but we haven’t yet identified anything that is going to be scaled back in particular. We are looking at the resources that we have and the projected resources,” Terry said.
Terry said so far social distancing has been working within the department and none of the officers have tested positive for COVID-19. He said he credits his staff for following the guidance measures and adapting to the new way around the department. He has also limited the number of people riding in patrol cars together and the number of people who meet in groups at a time.
Terry said crime rates are steady right now in the city and the community's compliance with shutting down their non-essential businesses and practicing social distancing efforts, have made it easier for his officers to focus on these priority one calls and their safety during this pandemic.