Orinda in Search of New Police Chief as Nagel Leaves

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(David Dierks, Photographer)
Police Chief Mark Nagel (center) receives recognition for his years of service to Orinda from City Council members (L-R) Amy Worth, Darlene Gee, Dennis Fay, Nick Kosla and Mayor Inga Miller.

    Orinda bid farewell to its police chief in August after Mark Nagel retired from the Contra Costa Sheriff’s Office and took a job at Saint Mary’s College.
    Nagel worked 20 years with the Sheriff’s Office, with the last six years as the chief of Orinda. 
    Nagel began work as the director of public safety at Saint Mary’s, his alma mater, at the end of August.
    Orinda City Manager Steve Salomon said he would be working with the sheriff’s department to hire the next police chief, likely in September.
    Salomon said he would be looking for someone who, like Nagel, is able to be active in the community, is a good listener and can build a good rapport with residents.
    Salomon said one of the key safety issues facing Orinda is emergency preparedness, and the next police chief would need to work closely with fire officials.
    Nagel began his career with the Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Office in 2000 as a deputy sheriff.  He was promoted to sergeant in 2005 and to lieutenant in 2012. One year later, he was selected as Orinda’s chief. 
    “This, by far, has been my favorite and most rewarding assignment in my entire career,” says Nagel. In Orinda, he says, he has focused on community policing and ensuring the police department works with all community members. Nagel also has introduced new technology to the department to deter crime and to serve as useful tools in identifying suspects and apprehending criminals.
    “With the implementation of license plate reading and security cameras, the ability to develop leads has been critical. Our ability to solve crimes increased substantially,” said Nagel. More recently, the acquisition of a drone has given the police the ability to assess a situation and respond to it more quickly. 
    Mayor Inga Miller praised Nagel, saying that he has been an asset to the community and that his tenure in Orinda will be a tough act to follow. 
    “He is always quick with a smile and takes the time to listen,” Miller said. “Those are attributes that are often contrary to people’s preconceived notions about police, and residents voice appreciation for his disarming demeanor and the time he takes to listen and solve problems.”  

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