GUSTINE - Milt Medeiros, who has served as the Gustine police chief since November 2017, has been placed on administrative leave, City Manager Doug Dunford said Monday.

Dunford said Medeiros was placed on paid administrative leave Wednesday, Oct. 2, and that discussions have been initiated regarding Medeiros’ separation from the department.

Dunford declined further comment, citing the confidentiality of personnel matters.

Medeiros said the action placing him on leave was “an agreed-upon situation,” and declined to comment on circumstances involved. He confirmed that the parties involved are working toward a separation agreement.

He said that he enjoyed his nearly two years as the city’s police chief.

“It was a wonderful experience,” Medeiros stated, adding that the city and its residents were very welcoming.

Dunford said an administrative restructuring of the department has been initiated. Dunford confirmed that Samuel Joseph, previously a corporal, will be acting lieutenant. Dunford told Mattos Newspapers Joseph will oversee day-to-day operations and coordinate major management decisions with Dunford until an interim chief can be brought in.

The restructuring of the GPD management team also includes the promotion of Francisco Martinez to corporal, he noted.

Going forward, Dunford said, his goals for the department include building greater community outreach, adding staff and strengthening the department culture.

The department, he told Mattos Newspapers, has not had a full complement of officers since prior to Medeiros’ arrival in Gustine.

Exacerbating that dilemma, Dunford added, the department has no reserve officers - those who can be called upon to work special events or take a patrol shift if need be.

“We are going to be actively recruiting to try to get more people on,” he stated. “The main things are to get our staffing up and increase training for our newer officers. We meet the mandatory requirements, but we would like to do more.”

The workload on officers is temporarily increased further because the department’s community service officer position is also vacant, Dunford noted. Patrol officers will be asked to assume code enforcement and animal control duties until the community service officer position is filled.

Dunford said he hopes to have an interim police chief on board by the end of the year.

When that individual is in place, he said, the city will begin a recruitment campaign for a new police chief. Among the traits that will be valued in the new chief, Dunford said, are the ability to mentor young officers and further strengthen community ties.