Did Bishop City Council “Diss” the Current Interim Police Chief?

Did the Bishop City Council “Diss” the current Interim Police Chief, Josh Ellsworth, when it announced its intentions to offer the job to an “Outsider?”

At the last Bishop City Council meeting, in a letter sent by Bishop Sgt. Dan Nolan, a 20-year police department veteran, the Council’s decision to offer the currently position, opened by the retirement of former Police Chief Ted Stec in November 2020, to an “outsider,” was called a “slap in the face” to the police department’s patrol officers and acting Police Chief Josh Ellsworth. But is it? Why when many, if not most of Bishop’s cops, including Ellsworth, came from other law police agencies themselves? How is this any different?

Apparently, Nolan’s position is that it should be the Police department itself making the decision, citing the support of the Bishop Police Officers Association. Civilian control of our government, whether at the federal, state, or local level, is a vital aspect of democratic governance. It is so in this instance.

Bishop Police Chief since November 2020, Josh Ellsworth, has done an exemplary job, but does that mean he is “owed” the position?

While Interim Chief Josh Ellsworth’s tenure leading the department during the search for a replacement has been exemplary, it was the City Council’s decision to make, and they made it, according to Mayor Stephen Muchovej, noting that they were elected to make just such a decision, and that decision was “unanimous.”

The fact is, the position of a police chief is not a popularity contest, especially among officers of a department, or for that matter by current or former local law enforcement officers. While their views are as important as everyone else’s, and should be heard, it is not their call to make. Nor should it ever be.

The candidate chosen by the city, Lt. Richard Standridge, appears to have excellent bona fides having spent 20 years with the City of Porterville Police Department. He also has experience with investigations and is currently serving as the lieutenant with Porterville’s Investigations Division. He has a Bachelor of Science degree in business and is near completion of his master’s degree in justice management from the University of Nevada Reno. And an important consideration, he is also a graduate of POST Command College, a 14-month program designed to prepare law enforcement leaders of today for the challenges of the future.

Bishop City Mayor, Steven Muchovej, stated that the selection of the Chief of Police is for the City Council to decide.

Standridge is clearly very qualified for the position. So, one might well ask, “How is questioning his selection not a “slap in his face” by Nolan, and by extension the officers whose views he says he represents in the department? Or does Standridge feelings and qualifications not matter because he is not “a local” and not known or personally endorsed by Nolan? And has Nolan’s comments possibly “poisoned the well” and atmosphere at the police department for the potentially new police chief, should he accept the job? If he does, he should be given the same opportunity, respect, and consideration that we have given all of our police chiefs, past and present, both from the existing ranks and from the “outside.”

The city council members could not respond to Nolan’s comments under the state’s rules and regulations in conducting public meetings. For discussion, an item must be on the agenda.

Listeners and viewers can watch Tuesday’s City Council Special Meeting on Wednesday, May 19, 2021, online at  City Council Special Meeting – May 19th, 2021 (granicus.com).

Video of May 24, 2021 City Council Meeting.

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21 Responses to Did Bishop City Council “Diss” the Current Interim Police Chief?

  1. Bishopite June 6, 2021 at 9:43 pm #

    Russoloco, have you personally seen the pictures you reference? How is that even relevant to the letter? A letter written by someone’s opinion? I’m seriously not understanding the mud slinging going on here. Freedom of speech, right? Why the personal attacks?

  2. Michael May 31, 2021 at 10:20 pm #

    Russoloco… yes, I would agree that it was a bad idea on Nolan’s part to send a **** pic to his female coworker while they were both on duty from his agency-issued cell phone. Seems as though his supporters want everyone to forget about this. Calling it a “mistake”… one doesn’t mistakenly take a picture of their genitalia and send it to their coworker… that is not an accident. That is purposeful. Nolan believes he can get away with whatever he wants… and given that he was re-promoted, it appears that the department and the city is allowing him to do so. Pathetic.

    • Bishopite June 6, 2021 at 9:29 pm #

      Once again Michael, you seem to have a personal issue with Sergeant Nolan. He was just voicing his concern over Lieutenant Ellsworth being passed over when he was clearly doing a great job. Am I missing something here? I’m not sure what you’re trying to succeed by flogging Nolan’s character. I truly feel you ARE an ex Law Enforcement Officer out for blood. How long ago was this picture scandal?? I just don’t see how you bringing it up (constantly) has any baring with the letter Sergeant Nolan wrote. I only see it’s purely his opinion.

      • Michael June 9, 2021 at 6:15 pm #

        Bishopite… Yes, you nailed it. I am a former law enforcement officer (LEO). I am a former LEO that holds LEOs to a higher standard.. a moral and an ethical standard that Danny has repeatedly failed to meet. I have no quarrel with Lt. Ellsworth… it is possible that he is absolutely the proper person to lead the department forward, but any association with Danny is political suicide. “How long ago was this picture scandal??” Does the length of time matter, Bishopite? Is there a statute of limitations for being unethical, immoral, and sleazy?

  3. Low May 31, 2021 at 2:04 pm #

    Wouldn’t have been a bad choice to pick Ellsworth but bringing in an outsider was the right move.

    People in high level positions like Chief are the first to get fired if there’s an issue. If you look at any government organizations, the top person always lasts about 3-6 years at most. Outside selections come in with minimal bias and they’re not conflicted, nor do they have a personal connection with the staff they’re supposed to administrate over. We want locals like Ellsworth to stick around.

  4. InyoArabians May 28, 2021 at 10:21 pm #

    Who exactly does Dan Nolan think he is? In what other profession do *employees* get to chose their boss? If he doesn’t like it, he can quit. The entitlement on display is just astounding.

    • Bishopite June 6, 2021 at 9:33 pm #

      InyoArabians, I never got the feeling he was trying to chose the boss. Only voicing his opinion on the matter.

  5. Sam May 28, 2021 at 5:02 pm #

    Spot on, Bishopite.

  6. Wade Wilson May 27, 2021 at 10:09 pm #

    Wrong, right or indifferent, a small department regardless of what “Charles KNOW IT ALL James” says should have some input and influence on who the leader of the department will be. If City Council, (yes, plenty of the same members who were involved and turned a blind eye to the allegations years ago) will take influence from former chiefs, (pezboy STEC) but not it’s own department members, there is definitely a problem. Standridge may be very qualified and the best man for the job, but we will never know if that’s the case. Hope for the best, expect the worst. Another win for the real “good ole boy’s” – Bishop City Council. 🙁

    • Don't spread rumors. May 28, 2021 at 11:36 am #

      Stec was involved in this selection? Where did you see that? Or are you just making that up?

    • Frankly speaking... May 28, 2021 at 3:51 pm #

      Frankly, it seems to me that James did in fact acknowledge the officers right to express their opinion, or did you just conveniently decide to skip or ignore that part of the article. He noted that the selection process “was not based on popularity contest”, and that “officers of a department, or for that matter by current or former local law enforcement officers” have a right to express their opinion,” as does everyone else. He was correct in stating that the final decision, however, “is not their call to make.” That’s not even an opinion; that is a fact. Apparently he does know a heck of a lot more about this than you do…which admittedly in your case, may be a pretty low bar.

  7. Good Ole Boy? May 27, 2021 at 9:10 pm #

    I’d be willing to bet that Nolan was promised the position of lieutenant if his buddy became chief. and now he’s pissed that he won’t be getting it. good on the city council for not buying into the “good ole boy” network.

  8. ARB May 27, 2021 at 11:02 am #

    Welcome to Bishop, Chief Standridge, welcome to Bishop.

  9. BobK May 27, 2021 at 10:49 am #

    So Michael: How is the department “troubled” at this time?

    • Sam Cotton May 27, 2021 at 6:03 pm #

      Methinks “Michael” is the officer who was forced to retire in lieu of termination. Still got a bone to pick, I guess.

  10. Michael May 27, 2021 at 1:41 am #

    It is amazing that Danny Nolan feels he is entitled to have any influence in the selection of the new Chief of Police (COP). The Bishop Police Department has been riddled with problems for years, in large part because of Danny and former COP Carter. In fact, Danny was groomed to be the future COP by both Chiefs Pecsi and Carter, but that fell apart when Danny was demoted from sergeant to officer after a very public debacle wherein he was shown to have sent lewd pictures of himself to a coworker while they were both on duty; much to the dismay of Pecsi, Carter, and Danny’s wife. Clearly, Danny is both the city’s and the department’s biggest liability… it is astounding that he still has a job. While it is possible that Interim Chief Josh Ellsworth is capable of a permanent position, it also is clear that Lt. Richard Standridge is more than qualified to lead this troubled department forward and hopefully restore its integrity.

    • IP May 27, 2021 at 1:21 pm #

      Michael- I agree. I am not sure what Danny is thinking here… Given his conduct, I am amazed he still has a job, let alone was repromoted to Sgt.

      • Michael May 27, 2021 at 9:59 pm #

        To the individual that suggested I was the Officer that was “forced to retire”… no, I’m not him (or her). I am only replying because “IP” informed everyone that Danny was repromoted to sergeant… what?! How can someone who disgraced the department so publicly be promoted? This is what is intrinsically wrong with the Bishop Police Department… the one individual that has brought so much disgrace to the department has been promoted after being demoted… does that make any sense at all? Danny should have been fired years ago, and yet he’s promoted? BobK… there is plenty wrong with the department… it was nearly absorbed by the Inyo County Sheriff’s Department only five years ago. To his credit, COP Carter avoided that. Nolan is a cancer within the department. That’s it and that’s all…

        • Bishopite May 28, 2021 at 12:45 am #

          Michael, you have a personal vendetta against Nolan? You seem to have intimate knowledge of his past. Why should he have been fired years ago? One would think if he should have been, he would have been. No agency is going to hold onto a “liability” as you stated. Are you a former Law Enforcement Officer? Why are you bashing someone for their opinion? I read the letter in it’s entirety and my conclusion was he felt Lieutenant Ellsworth was doing a good job so why not promote him to Chief. Younger officers should be able to promote within the agency if they’re performing their duties to their full potential. Why pass them over? Why stay at a job that you cannot promote at? Seems like a viable questions to me. Plus, the housing market is an issue in Bishop. Lack of properties within the area has driven the cost of a family home to ridiculously high prices compared to the average wage here. All good points. Yes, Bishop Police Department has had some turbulent years and the community is well aware of it. But, blaming one individual for it is absurd, don’t you think? I’ve heard of many a scandal in other local agencies over the years and many an employee the cause of it. No department is untouched. What we hope is that each individual learns from their mistakes, changes the behavior and moves forward. As a citizen of Bishop, I want to see camaraderie within the walls of Bishop Police Department. (That would definitely boost community moral.) As does the rest of my fellow Bishopites. Sounded like Lieutenant Ellsworth brought that to the table and the men/women who work for Bishop Police Department were finally content. Maybe I’m wrong, but personally attacking someone for their opinion on a matter is not the way. You have a right to your opinion as well and it makes for a healthy debate.

          • Russoloco May 29, 2021 at 12:38 pm #

            Maybe Nolan shouldn’t have sent **** (edit) pics to his mistress on a City of Bishop phone? He then got magically promoted.

        • BobK May 28, 2021 at 6:36 am #

          Michael. Thank you for the reply and explanation. That’s something that doesn’t happen much any more…BobK


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