A finalist has been announced in the search for Paso Robles’ new police chief, essentially ending the controversial Lisa Solomon saga—except for those three lingering lawsuits filed by officers who claimed the former chief was guilty of sexual harassment, retaliation, and instigating ticket quotas.
After reviewing more than 60 applications, the city held two days of candidate interviews involving council members, department heads, law enforcement professionals, and community members. The Dec. 7 announcement revealed Manny Guaderrama, a captain with the San Diego Police Department, as the finalist.
“He seemed to mesh well with everyone he met, and he exuded a positive air of confidence,” City Manager Jim App said.
Guaderrama served with the San Diego Police Department for 29 years, according to a press release, and experienced every aspect of municipal policing, from managing gang suppression teams and homicide investigations to community policing. After being promoted to captain in 2008, he oversaw San Diego’s Southern District, which included diverse communities that abut the Mexican border. While Guaderrama doesn’t speak Spanish, he’s of Hispanic descent, and he told interviewers he’s well acquainted with the culture, App said.
Before Guaderrama can officially take charge of the Paso Robles Police Department, he’ll have to undergo a full background check and be affirmed by the City Council. A possible blip on his record could come from the recent arrest of his 23-year-old son, who was accused of sexual battery, vandalism, and assault in regard to an Aug. 22 incident at a Pacific Beach restaurant. According to the San Diego Union-Tribune, officers determined Guaderrama’s son wasn’t a flight risk and let him leave the scene without taking him into custody. They issued a “notify warrant” instead, and he wasn’t formally charged with the crimes until Oct. 5.
App said he discussed the matter with San Diego police officials and is confident Guaderrama’s position had no influence on his son’s treatment, which App said followed protocol.
According to App, the city announced its pick before finishing the background check because staff had been so thoroughly peppered with questions from the public about their progress in selecting a new chief.
“There’s a risk something could crop up, but that’s life,” App said. “We’re pretty confident we’ve found our guy.”
If all goes as planned, Guaderrama should be sworn into office at the Jan. 15 City Council meeting.